Why is the world round and why do the seasons change and if individuals from Tanzania come to America will they be discriminated against because of the color of their skin and do I think that President Trump’s unfavorable relationship with South Korea has a negative impact on the American Economy? These are all questions that concern some, especially young boys from a local Catholic school here in Tanzania (I’ll let you decide which questions I was actually asked). This is just a brief window into my life so far here in Tanzania, and while I don’t have the answers to any of those questions (at least the right ones anyway) I have however, found so many things about myself that I never knew, or maybe I did know but didn’t realize just how much those things made me who I am.
Since my last post I can say that I am still partaking in daily mango consumption but….. I have also been introduced to a couple other things that for so long in my life I have avoided. First, pears; pears are an interesting one because the only thing I can remember about pears from my 22 year of life is that they were always those nasty little gelatinous globs in what the American processed food world likes to call a fruit cup. No way in hell I was eating one of those fruit cups let alone the clear globs! After begin presented what looked to be an apple my host mom says, “do you like this?” and again, thinking it was an apple I said, “yes!”. When I took a bite I was a little taken back by the extreme crunch and the lack of an apple flavor so I asked what it was and she told me a pear. I can say I was pleasantly surprised and I am enjoying the change of fruit every now and again. If you know me you now that I LOVE peanut butter so I am happy to report that my first successful find/purchase at the market was a jar of peanut butter, which I’ll admit is already gone. Sweets are a major part of my life in America. I grew up going to my grandparents’ house, walking in the front door, and immediately heading for the freezer where I was sure to find some cookies my grandma had made and attempted to hide. Here in Tanzanian dessert tends to consist of some sort of fruit which my host sister keeps trying to convince me is “just sweet”, but is very out of the norm of what I would consider dessert or sweet. Something that I can very remember enjoying, except as a baby according to my parents, are bananas. The smell, the taste, the way they looks when people eat them and then squish the bite between their front teeth…eeeccckkkk. I was so desperate for something sweet one day I actually had a banana on a piece of dry wheat bread with some honey and like the pear I was pleasantly surprised, so surprised in fact I was even craving it the next day.
Growing up I played AYSO, now don’t ask me what it stands for because I don’t remember and it takes up too much of my data to look so I’ll let you take care of that, but it’s essentially like little league but for soccer. As I got older I played off and on, I was back and forth between it and dance until after my 8th grade year where I played on a community travel team, it was after that that I gave it up to dance in high school instead. Now it’s not that I didn’t love to dance or that I regret my decision, but sometimes I wonder why I didn’t pursue soccer more. I think for my age I was fairly decent and with more time and practice I could have gotten even better. Anyways last Saturday we had a sports and games day at a local boys Catholic school and we had the pleasure of having some of the boys join us in the many activities that we chose to put on; volleyball, basketball, throwing a frisbee, and playing soccer. Initially I was just walking around to the different stations observing because I initially had thought I was just going to participate in the Uno game happening under a shady tree(mostly I didn’t think I was going to play because I wasn’t really wearing the most supportive bra to be playing a continuous movement sport).
I’m smarter then I give myself credit for, but there is always more room to learn and grow; the easiest thing to already know but the hardest thing to try and convince myself it’s true. The group of people that I have been so fortunate to surround myself with since meeting them in February is absolutely amazing. Everyone seems so well versed in so many topics, they have great life experience(s) to share, and their enthusiasm for not only this common goal we have to be great/productive volunteers but just for life in general is remarkable. The more people I talk to and the more we get to know each other I sometimes feel behind the curve of general knowledge that most people here have either because they were exposed to more culture growing up, or they traveled more, or even just the sole fact that their entire educational life was more informative and thorough then I could have ever even imagined schooling could be. Sometimes it’s interesting to listen into conversations because I know that just by doing that I am exposing myself to new information and ideas, while other times it feels discouraging because I have nothing to offer because I know absolutely nothing about the topic. I didn’t choose to air these feeling publicly to gain a pity party of followers but instead to say that just as life anywhere, my life here consists of fine days and great days, but I definitely think I learn more about myself on the days that are just fine. Times when people talk about their passion in life I realize I don’t really have one and I hope to find one. Days when I think my Swahili is just not that great I realize that I just need to speak up because someone says the right answer and it was what I was saying in my head the whole time I was just to afraid to get it out; on these days sometimes I also learn I just need to study more because I just truly don’t know! Sometimes people talk about thing they want out of life and I reevaluate what I want. Everything in life is a new time to learn if you just look at it in the right way, you just have to be receptive.