Lasting Impressions

It is so strange to be back in America. At first I was very cynical about being here. The life we lead in America is a life of excess, and many of us are still not happy. It is so humbling to meet so many people in Tanzania who have a fraction of what we have and are the happiest, cheeriest, and most positive people I’ve ever met. It is just reinforcement that we don’t need wealth or possessions to be happy. Being happy is a mindset. One lasting impression is that Tanzanian people are happier people because they choose to be happy.

It was hard to come back to a life where busyness and stress prevail. The bumper sticker I purchased that says, “No hurry in Africa” really sums up a valuable lesson I learned while in Tanzania. There is no need to stress about the little things. Problems are only problems if you make them problems. So many times in life there is no need to stress. I miss the relaxed, “hamna shida” attitude. It is amazing to me that people in Tanzania work so hard, but also don’t stress over things that aren’t worth their concern. Another lasting impression from my stay in Tanzania is not to sweat the small stuff.

All I can think about lately is going back to Tanzania. I’ve been staying in touch via email and Facebook with friends from the Outpost and school. I miss coming back from school to the Outpost and talking with the Café Mambo staff. I wish I had more time to get to know them better. Emmanuel promised me that I would be able to meet his family when I return, so I’m looking forward to that. I treasure the gifts I was given. I wore the kanga his family gave me to church on Sunday. Currently I’m wrapped up in the shuka that my school gave to me, and wearing the headband Zi made for me. The little gifts mean so much to me because every time I look at them I smile as I think of the friendships I made in Tanzania. My final lasting impression is that I don’t think the strong desire I have to return to Tanzania will fade. I pray that it is God’s plan for me to return because Tanzania feels like home.

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