A long journey to Tanzania lasting a month, between a Safari, the Land and the People
Places: Dar es Salaam, Zanzibar Island
No one knows what to expect when you enter the African continent: a journey to Tanzania is a mystery both at the time of departure and at the time of return.
It’s a journey inside the very roots of man, who finds you have only done when you came home. It’s a thoughtful trip, but late with respect to the trip itself, as almost all the great journeys are. I would like to tell you, in a very romantic way, that the journey to Tanzania has changed my life, but I would say a lie because my life is exactly the same as before: I have the same habits, the same hours and I eat exactly the same food.
Perhaps in some small, mental mechanism, this experience has been undermined: in the perception of the importance of some daily events, of those little things that we are going to ingenious from time to time. Or in the perception of the time we have and how we use it.
These are small things I do not think every day, just wake up. Little thoughts arriving, maybe after a quarrel with Stefano, when someone wants to prevail over the other, or the whims that I have monthly, in wanting to buy and possess expensive things.
In this, Africa, or better the African people, has had an imperceptible sign on me.
First of all, simplicity. Not in a negative sense, as it may seem.
Simplicity in doing one thing at a time, do it all the way, do it very slowly.
A way to work, to behave, to act, which may seem to us by almost no-frills people, in Africa is complete routine: “pole pole” they say, “slowly-slowly.”Plan flat, without getting angry if a food is not served immediately or if you have to wait if there is a queue. Pole pole, life needs to take it a bit as it comes, you can not get angry at all.
The simplicity of thought and action, simplicity in being together and simply spending time together, without necessarily finding something to do together. A simplicity of play, of having fun. One of the biggest boys rocks is to be on the beach umbrella to learn how to do acrobatics. Jumping, rolling, challenging each other.
The simplicity of work: a place to work improvised, a thousand stalls selling only coconut, maybe just milk just moaning. You only earn what you need for the day, and once you’ve finished working, no matter what time, you’re back home, or you’re hanging around with friends or diving into the sea.
The non-conception of the future: in a nation where there is illness, poverty, no home and no work, why should you worry about tomorrow and making money if you probably do not have a tomorrow? You live for today, you rejoice for the day, in the afternoon, for the hour itself.
That’s why I think that when people get back from these places they always say “they laugh much more than us, they are happier even having nothing.” Because they live for today, they are vigilant at the present moment, which is the time that really matters.
Their looks. Most of the time I felt in great humor, because for the first time I feel (and this for an Occidental who has visited only “visitable” places, is a very strong feeling) to be something stranger and sometimes not well accepted. I felt that I was categorized, observed, banned as a white man, as a stranger, as an almost-enemy. Surely like someone who is there, watching their miseries (do not pretend they are unaware of it) and having the ability to go away whenever they want from that show, like changing a channel from their remote control looking for a more enjoyable show.
I got the impression that their intimacy exists only to protect ourselves from our curiosity, which sometimes seems to have no respect. Life is on the streets, in front of the courtyards of houses, in villages, always outdoors, and almost there is no public and private concept, at least not as we mean it.
Admire the totally unspoiled nature, disrupted only by our European hands, who have built spam and resorts. But if you can, if you have a minimum of experience, do not sleep at the hotel. Be cautious, but if you have enough desire, rent a house (well protected, better than by bars and paying men). Go to the beaches, have contact with the road and the street life, through the routes you will inevitably do by bus or car, with the landscape and the population, it will be an unforgettable experience. Look for a trusted guide and lead yourself to the villages, bringing with you only the indispensable. Look at what I’m talking about, and once you come back, you’ll thank me.
The image that I will always carry with me, which will accompany me as a pleasure veil resting on the memory of my journey to Tanzania, is that of this girl: we were on a beach, northwest of Zanzibar, and the sun was setting. Along with us, a group of British students was intent on collecting shells on the wet, and among the dunes behind us have appeared two young women. One of them drifts into the sea with his handkerchief on his head, dissolves it and lays it one, two, three times in the sea water. She looks at him, reminiscent of it every time she dumps him into the water, and when it looks pretty clean, she jump with joy back to shore by her friend.
Did you like it and would like to see some other travel of mine?