I am now starting to feel slightly disconnected from my own culture. Living in this country for some years and in isolation from the Tanzanian and other African communities make you unaware of a lot of the “things” African. Things like wedding contributions, death michangos, and many “things” of that nature.
The other day, I was invited to go to a msiba, if invited is the right word in this kind of a situation. I had a hard time figuring out what should I bring. The first thing that came to my mind was buying a card. But, being born and raised in Africa, I started to question myself maybe a card without money will not suffice. Then I started to think “Should I bring money? food? drinks? Or what?
If it is money, then how much is acceptable or expected? It’s kinda hard to translate shillings into dollars, especially the significantly depreciated shilling of today.
I was tempted to call a friend to ask. On the flipside, I was like what will he think of me? What have I become–a sell-out? How would I go about asking about this sensitive issue without him noticing my ignorance? Is there a blue book for how much to give? I mean, if I do not personally know the person (mfiwa and/or muoaji) for that matter.
It is really hard to figure these things out—arrgh!!!!
Living here, the only people you feel concern for are your immediate family members. Even to them, you are not expected to offer contribution neither for death nor for a wedding—insurance or planning ahead takes care of all that. I am a little apprehensive about this issue. I would love to be part of all that is going on in my community; honestly I just do not know what to do? What to do? What to do?