I spent the afternoon in town, exploring the streets on my own.

I like it here, a hundred little observances to make. I visit stationary stores, pass a blind man reading braille, wander down a corridor to a bookstore underneath a staircase, and eat gelato at an mzungu strip mall. The locals laugh at me as I attempt to capture the city’s architecture through photos. Look at the white man! He likes our streets! Ha ha ha! No matter how I dress or what I am doing I am always a tourist, my skin determines my identity. Swindlers approach me. Rafiki! My friend! It takes half a block and constant pleading to shake them. I take a break from the bustle in a city park. Children play soccer, and a choir from a nearby church serenades me, but the park is littered with garbage. Every stream in Tanzania is treated this way, covered in filth.

Arusha reveals her beauty and ugliness at once, unabashedly.


2 Responses

  1. the janus-faced nature of Africa is interesting– the beauty amidst the garbage and overarching turmoil/chaos reminds me of the scene in Schindler’s List of the girl in the red dress surrounded by the grey horror of Nazi Germany.

    Reading of Mugabe’s recent inauguration and starving of his own people– after his 28 years as dictator– I can’t help but think our own history is filled with Hitler’s–one can only pray the darkness that clutches Africa so tightly might be loosened and destroyed all together by the beauty of its people.

  2. Life sounds so fascinating. I cannot believe it has already been 2 months for you. Oh, and anyone who carries a camera is forever a tourist.

    Did a postcard arrive?

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