Tag Archives: maasai

Fashion on the farm

Spice farm style

Trying not to write another blog post about crime in this city, because I’m sick of hearing about it, talking about it, even dreaming about it. So maybe: something about the absurdity of days here? A morning struggling through the thick knots of desparate, angry young men in the city centre – taxi drivers that nearly start a fight to get your custom, snarling market hawkers resentful of your rich white faces, opportunist thieves and their violent fists – and the same evening, finding yourself admiring the modern art and marble worktops of a four-bathroomed apartment with sea view and private gym.

I hate lazy travel writing that sums up a destination as a place of contrasts – you can always find them if you look – but I can’t get away from the disjointed reality of Tanzania sometimes. Continue reading

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The maasai, the nun and me

Maasai: Are you married? Continue reading

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Losing oneself

Apart from a Zanzibar beach party (dodging maasai guys on the dance floor; not-so-sober sea plunge at 4am, etc.), I’m choosing to let socialising take a back seat for a while. And it is a choice, because it’s evidently easy to meet other expats, and easy to go out lots: “Oh, and you’ll turn into an alcoholic”, half-joked, half-warned my predecessor, whose job and apartment I’ve taken over.

I’m not yet convinced I’ll be taking over his lifestyle. Partly it’s a conscious decision – but partly it’s something more subtle. A sense that because I’m in Africa, things are Different. Clearly to all those going out drinking and flirting and having dinner parties it’s no different at all, just a bit sweatier and grubbier. But for various reasons – naiveté, or paranoia, or racism, or just realism – I’m a slightly different person here than in Europe. Continue reading

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Let it be

I cannot bear the Beatles anymore. I’m just back from a three-day trip to the north of Tanzania with the ambassador, whose CD collection consists of only one artist. I know the Beatles were prolific but even they can’t fill eight solid hours of driving, every day, with new material.

Apart from the soundtrack, the trip reflected some of the stereotypes I’d dreaded. The white 4×4 complete with national flag fluttering from the bonnet; the irritable, bossy diplomat berating his meek African driver for not overtaking; the overdone ceremony and repetitive, fawning speech-making of the official visits.

In Babati hospital

Perhaps an official visit does have a real value: the people receiving the funding and now responsible for the equipment they’ve got may be more likely to take that responsibility seriously; and it does get the national governments and their representatives close to the people they’re supposed to be helping. What made me a bit sad was that the ambassador was giving off about roads being blocked, cars not pulling over fast enough to let us pass, shops being closed etc. You would think after his seven years in Africa he’d have mellowed: could it be instead that the longer you’re here, the less patient you become? Continue reading

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