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Published: July 11th 2012
Well, what an experience and huge mix of emotions I have recently endured. My team and all my volunteer programme colleagues left Moshi to fly home at 4am last Saturday and I was there to wave them off. After 3 months of getting to know everybody and living in close proximity with 3 of them, suddenly it daunts me – I am on my own.
I said my goodbyes, waved off the bus, and went back to bed. I was so overwhelmed by this and could not get back to sleep. I think these are feelings I have never experienced before, the sudden sense of loneliness, yet mixed with excitement that I'm free to roam in strange places and looking forward to exciting times.
My good friend Katanga, whom I know from the music scene in Arusha was in Moshi from a gig the night before. In the morning we met and he took me back to Arusha by local bus and, seeing that I was visibly tired and upset, he assured me as they do here “don't worry man, we are together
”. For the day he took me around Arusha finding me a backpackers and helped me make some essential purchases (such as buying a new laptop power supply as mine had died!). This kind of time and generosity shown is abundant amongst Tanzanians, they really go out of their way to make sure you are okay and expect nothing in return.
That evening Katanga was playing at Empire Sports Bar, where my team and I had frequented for the past 3 months, its a great bar with big screens for football, a stage in the corner and is generally well attended by a locals and expats. I met with an American friend Maytal and some Tanzanian friends from Sekei (my home for the past 3 months) and we all partied together at Empire Sports Bar until the early hours.
The next few days consisted of me hanging out at the Backpackers, and meeting with Maytal pottering around Arusha and Sekei. Knowing that I was planning on moving on within the next few days, I made the most of the time spending it with local friends, saying goodbye and thanking them for their hospitality. I enjoyed the European Championship final at Big Y in Sekei – the owner Steve insisted on paying for all our drinks that evening, and that his daughter Sarah did us dinner at their house beforehand.
My leaving drinks were at Empire Open Mic on Tuesday night, I met Annabelle, a German girl at the backpackers that evening and we partied with the band who were playing reggae songs and Western covers.
In my 3 months here, I have never witnessed any violence or hostility, though I have heard that as a result of their socialist past the people are generally in charge and law breaking such as theft is dealt with by the community. In other words, mobs will often beat or often kill thieves. Tonight at Empire was my first experience of this, I was sat with Annabelle and saw a group of about 6 men drag another guy out along the floor by his hood and other men running to get involved – I find out that he had previously been caught stealing a mobile phone. I dread to think what had happened to him when outside or where they put him. The band stopped playing as he was dragged out in front of them, and after a couple of minutes the party carried on as if nothing had happened.
I joined the band and played djembe for the last song, as they kindly announced that I was leaving and gave me a local bracelet to say goodbye.
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