I’ll miss the colors. Everywhere you turn in Tanzania you’ll find a rainbow of kangas and kitenges, whether they are being worn as garments or baby carriers or thrown over a clothes line to dry. I’ll miss being constantly impressed by the new things I see women balancing on their heads. I’ll miss being referred to as “Mama.” As soon as you become a mother in Tanzania, you are referred to as “Mama ____,” with the blank being the name of your first child. For example, to Tanzanians I’m “Mama Eva,” or simply, “Mama.” Some women might see this as demeaning- as if you lose your own identity once you become a mother. But I find it endearing. I love the title, “Mama.” I’ll proudly wear it, like a doctor or official. I’ll miss being woken up in the middle of the night by the loud thump of mangoes falling on the tin roof of my carport. Yes, this annoys the hell out of me at times, but it’s also kind of special. Speaking of mangos, I’ll miss the freshest, juiciest mangos I’ve tasted in the world (and trust me… I’ve tried a lot of them). I’ll miss the chapati and chicken masala and samosas, as well. I’ll miss being able to haggle for almost anything. I’ll miss walking down the road and having people I know honk and wave as they drive by. Whoever thought I’d be a Masaki local? I don’t see that happening in Virginia any time soon (or at all). I’ll miss meeting and getting to know people from all over the world. It just doesn’t happen as often in the United States. At least not in the places I’ve lived. I’ll miss the friends I’ve made during my journey here. It hurts to think I may never see some of them again. I’ll miss knowing that just a short trip up the road there are elephants and lions and zebras and all sorts of amazing animals free as can be. I’ll miss the turquoise water and empty waves. I’ll miss the “pole pole” life. At least some of the time.
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