I arrived in Moshi today in the early hours of the morning. Moshi is at the foot of Mt. Kilimanjaro. Coming off the airplane the shock was the bureaucracy of Tanzania government, especially under COVID-19. Before I left Portland I had to get a PT-PCR test, which showed negative, 96 hours before presenting myself in Tanzania. Then, I had to pay $10 for a rapid antigen test for the presence of the COVID-19 virus. Then I had to wait 20 minutes for the results of the text to be negative. Then, I had to fill out a Tanzanian landing card (which wasn’t given on the flight). Then, I had to present my multiple-entry VISA, which I had filed and paid for and was granted several weeks ago. Then I had to retrieve my luggage. Fortunately it was all there and I exited the airport only to be received by my smiling guide, Johnny. He told me that we had to wait for four more passengers that were coming in an hour later. Rats, I wanted to get to the hotel and take a hot shower. Then it started to rain—hard.

Coming off the airport tarmac, we US citizens had to take a Rapid Antigen Test.

It’s interesting to us westerners, how we have so much, how we depending on things going exactly the way we plan them, how we want them. And if every cog doesn’t fall into place exactly as we want them to then we get bent out of shape. Consider my scenario above. What if I tested positive on my PT-PCR test? What if any one of my three flights getting to Tanzania were delayed or canceled? What if I tested positive for COVID when I arrived in Kilimanjaro? What if my guide didn’t show up at the airport? The answer to any or all of these questions is that I would be very put out, perturbed, irritated, and even upset. In the end, it’s just a trip. I planned it and I want it. But I should be willing to deal with not getting it.

Yet, the Tanzanians, and especially the Maasai (a prominent local tribe), deal with disappointments all the time. Their government is not like any other government, heavy on justice and light on mercy and laden with policies. In addition, their life is difficult. They don’t necessarily know where their next meal is coming from, how they will provide for their families. If what happens to them happened to us just a fraction of the time, I’m certain that our society would be sick and depressed. Not so with these Tanzanians. They are friendly and outgoing. Their form of address for almost anything is ”You are welcome.” What a wonderful expression.

Take a look at the photo I took of some kids near Arusha (between Mt. Kilimanjaro and the Serengeti). They are joyful and happy. Were we to take a page out of their book.

Some Maasai children I saw in my last trip

1 Comment

Lucia LaRocca · February 11, 2022 at 4:22 pm

I’m looking forward to following your journey!

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