Reflections on Tanzania

Today, a year ago, I would have been sitting in the mess tent, with members of the Maasai on either side of me and I would be having the time of my life. Tonight would be the ceremony with all of those involved with hosting us and we would be dancing and feasting on the massive meal they provided.

This would be the last night of an extraordinary adventure, as well as the moment I realized the impact it had on me. This, was the night I gained my travel bug.

Here is 12 things I learned from this trip from the 12 nights I stayed there:

  1. Close your windows in countries with monkeys. The fact that the hotel had to put up a sign about it should say enough.
  2. Understand that you can not win every card game. That is not possible, well, unless you are Kyle. Accept defeat at some point.
  3. Be thankful for the privilege you have if you live in a first world country. I can not stress this enough.
  4. Mafia is the most entertaining group game on this planet. On the contrary, spoons is the most terrifying group game on this planet.
  5. Appreciate our education system. Or more simply, the fact you are able to go to a school. Or have a school to go to.
  6. Despite its difficulties, enjoy the issues with language barriers. “Sleeping like a pancake” is one of these instances that you kinda just accept it and laugh. Then you contemplate the meaning for the rest of your life.
  7. Enjoy safaris and be patient. You will ruin the safari for yourself if you just stress on seeing all the animals or focusing on just one.
  8. Be grateful for clean water!!! Let me repeat: Be grateful for clean water!!!
  9. Don’t get weirded out by extreme flattery from men. Yes you can turn down the proposal and the awkward invitation to go home with them, but don’t get creeped out. They aren’t going to harm you, they just think you are very pretty and qualified to be another wife.
  10. Be comfortable with drop toilets. Not all countries use the loo like the West does. Get used to the squat and drop.
  11. Try all of the food. Yes, you might not like the goat that you watched be slaughtered this morning, but at least give it a shot (spoiler: kinda tastes like chicken).
  12. When you come home, do not ever forget how you felt. Remember the reverse culture shock and surprise you had. That’s what you learn from. That is what will shape your life.

I am forever grateful for this opportunity. This trip made me the way I am today and has inspired many actions since then. Cheers to June, 2016!

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