By Shaaban Fundi
I travel to Tanzania every other year. It has not been difficult to spend my time there every time I go except this year (the “good people” that made my stay pleasant, thanks guys; you know who you are, you are truly not included in this).Two weeks in and I was ready to change my flight date and leave. I do not know what is happening to me, but I feel like I am in a foreign country in Tanzania these days. I feel as though I do not belong there any-longer.
It is not the same any more. The very small, small inconveniences like lack of electricity, lack of running water (maji ya kuoga kwa ndoo–i hate that), endless traffic (or I should say roads turned into parking lots) and hiking prices to foreigners bothers me now more than before. It is dawning to me that I might be at that juncture where I feel I belong more to the predictability of life in the U.S. than the unpredictability in Tanzania.
Don’t get me wrong, I love Tanzania. I love the countryside and the simple life that goes with it. But, the culture of “mgeni njoo mwenyeji apone” is getting in my nerves and it is literary frustrating me. Why my coming to see you necessitate me to give you money? I paid a heavy price on my air ticket already. Jeez!!!! It should just be enough for me to come and spend time and seeing you for god’s sake!!
The meals that you get in exchange for your 100,000Tshs are unnecessary. You know what I mean, when visiting a relative or a friend, they will cook food for you in anticipation that you will definitely leave “kitu kidogo” behind. Just tell me your problems and if I can afford, I will surely help rather than providing me with food and when I am leaving you start telling me that you have problems. Keep the money to solve your life’s problems, I can handle my own. My once in two year’s cash is not going to change your life instantly.
I felt like I was a walking ATM machine. People have that mentality of expecting something from nothing. What have you done for me to feel that I owe you something?
I make and save for a budget to visit home and I would love to stay within budget, “please”. I don’t like to spend just for the sake of spending, unless it is off course spending on myself and probably the people very close to me. Am I just another African getting frustrated with his own culture?????
Can we change? What do you feel about this culture of shamelessly receiving money or gift without working for it? Maybe that is the reason why even our government officials come abroad shamelessly to ask for misada? No shame to getting “things” for free (free-loading). What a shame!!! I wonder what the white people on those meeting thinks of these leaders!!!!???