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Giving in to the "nothing"

USA | Sunday, 22 September 2013 | Views [257] | Comments [3]

octopus sausage?

octopus sausage?


Yesterday, I asked Frank what he was doing today, Sunday. He just looked at me and said “It’s Sunday”. As if that was supposed to answer my question. And I guess, ultimately it did. Nothing happens here on Sunday. Many shops are closed, and unless you are in the middle of town, the streets are only scattered with life here and there. I ended up not going out last night and decided to stay in and read. I’m loving a book they have here at the Blu Palm called “Scribbling the Cat”. The writing makes me want to be a better writer. I have to give you an excerpt I read a few moments ago that had me nodding in agreement...yes!

“In late December I went home to my husband and to my children and to the post-Christmas chaos of a resort town, but instead of feeling glad to be back, I was dislocated and depressed. It should not be physically possible to get from the banks of the Pepani River to Wyoming in less than two days, because mentally and emotionally it is not possible. The shock is too much, the contrast too raw. We should sail or swim or walk from Africa, letting bits of her drop out of us, and gradually, in this way, assimilate the excesses and liberties of the States in tiny, incremental sips, maybe touring up through South America and Mexico before trying to stomach the land of the Free and the Brave.

Because now the real, wonderful world around me-the place where we had decided to live with our children, because it had seemed like an acceptable compromise between my Zambia and my husband’s America- felt suddenly pointless and trivial and almost insultingly frivolous. The shops were crappy with a Christmas hangover, too loud and brash. Everything was 50 percent off. There was nothing challenging about being here, at least not on the surface. The new year’s party I attended was bloated with people complaining about the weight they had put on over Christmas. I feigned malaria and went home to bed for a week.”

She goes on to write that she’s not judging it and she’s actually wanting to enjoy the ease of living in the US but that she just couldn’t. At least not for months until the memory of Africa faded. I felt that way when I left here last year and I had only been here for two weeks. I felt that way every time I left Burning Man and I was only there for one week each time! That’s why Burning Man has a “decompression party” about a month after. There is something about coming to a land where things are not easy, where there aren’t convenience stores on every corner. Where people have to rely on each other a bit more. There is something about it that just sticks to my soul and doesn’t let go for a long time. Don’t get me wrong, I LOVE efficiency and convenience. I might even be addicted to it. But when finding a little shop in the middle of town where I can buy mayo to make an egg sandwhich out of my breakfast fried egg (or whatever it is, I’m not really sure)...when that feels like an accomplishment, when finally discovering a cafe that has pretty consistent internet feels like a success...there’s something magical about it. I think when things are too easy, we lose our ability to be grateful about the little things. We forget about how awesome it is to figure things out, when usually it’s just a google search away. I think if everyone were to travel somewhere like this...even if only to the nicest places in Europe where you realize things take some effort...I think the US would be a place of appreciation rather than entitlement.

Ok, I’m off my soap box for a bit. It’s late (because apparently 10pm is late for me now) and I’m sitting alone in the living room, a large square with tiled floor, a credenza loaded with books, and three chairs in the middle of the room painted in a sky blue that look like they are actually meant to be outdoor furniture. I’m happy that I can write offline and then just copy/paste to my blog when I am online. That way the memories are fresh rather than re-hashed. It is quiet here, minus the party or club of some sort that is either close-by or maybe sound just really travels here. It sounds like a live band and they are playing the longest song known to man. I mean, hours of the same song. Or possibly different songs with the exact same few chords and tone. I guess that’s how mariache music sounds to me too hahaha...however this sounds like bad lounge music but in Swahili. Dogs bark in the background (and I still hear the yappers). The hum of the old fridge is actually more like a rattling chatter in the other room. Crickets continue to chirp to each other, and every now and again I will hear the ring of our Masai guard’s cell phone with a quick answer of “eh?” followed by a flow of words I can’t yet understand. I’m determined to learn more Swahili prior to my next trip!

I suppose I should head to bed soon after I enjoy a bit more of the book. I’m glad I gave in to the “we do nothing here on Sunday” vibe. I woke up early for breakfast, then read, then took a nap, then wrote and wrote and wrote, then went to Fifi’s cafe for a salad and to upload my writing. I ran into my family of housemates as they came in to dine at Fifi’s (upon my recommendation) where we joked about the special for kids this week- smiling octopus sausage swimming in a sea of potatoes (that disappointingly ended up just being a hot dog carved into an octopus shape)- then headed home for more reading. Kind of a perfect day. Or..not kind of. Perfect.

I only have four more full days here. It’s crazy how slow and fast this trip has been! I opted to not take my days off to Zanzibar or even an overnight trip to see elephants at the lake. I just feel there is so much I still want to do at the project that I wouldn’t enjoy myself on a “vacation” elsewhere. I’m happy with that decision.  I think it’s sunk in for Frank too as he’s scheduled things back to back to accomplish this week, which is uncharacteristic of him. I’m sure our talk helped some/added some pressure as well.

I’ll finish up my glass of “lush red” South African wine, dive in to my book a bit more, then crawl under my mozzie net to get some zzz. I’m  trying not to feel sad yet about leaving and instead focus on the moments as they happen. And in this moment...the same four chords play over and over in the background while I type. Wait! What is that? Silence? Oh man….silence. Party is over. Now just the bark of dogs that I’ve gotten so used to I almost don’t hear anymore. Good night, Moshi, Tz. We get to start our last few days together in just a few hours.



You just capture my heart with this simple but difficult life in Tanzania. Thanks for putting life into perspective. I know there is so much you haven't had the chance to tell us and we will get them in bits and pieces when you return. Please continue writing when you are back in America. Love you and safe travels.

  Mom Sep 26, 2013 11:45 PM


I can SO relate to the first 1/2 of this entry. I have had that same thought as that author. It really should not be just 2 days to get back to the States from Africa. It should be an easy transition vs. this insane shock back to this world. It is so hard to explain to those who've never experienced it but I am completely on board with that!!

  Lexie Sep 27, 2013 2:07 AM


That's why I like living out in the boonies back home. You can't even see your neighbors let alone a convenience store:). Glad you didn't go to Zanzibar - I've read they're killing non-muslims there:(. Dad

  Bob Dunn Sep 27, 2013 3:25 AM

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