Homestay: My Week Living Like a LocalNovember 13, 2013 3:38 pm
Last week I spent a week with our campus manager, Mzee Kitula and his family in order to immerse myself in the language and culture of Tanzania. So Monday after work, I began the mile walk to Mzee Kitula’s house with him. We got off to a slow start as Chris’s dog Maggie would not stop following us! We both had to stop and tell her to go home several times and she still kept turning around and following us. Finally we had to call for Seth to come call her home so we could make our way.
The next night, I sat with Mama Kitula as she prepared dinner and the older kids came over and asked me about America. “How is it different from Tanzania?” I really struggled to answer this question, I didn’t want to glorify the US or make Tanzania sound inferior. Every example I thought of at first would have done that though. I initially thought of the roads, the suburban houses, cable television, plumbing and electricity. I stuck with telling them more about the weather, the four seasons and the landscape of the various regions of the United States. The question stuck with me the next day though and I thought long and hard about how I could have better answered the question.
The next morning, the girls were doing the dishes from the night before, the younger boys were
sweeping the entire yard of the debris from the storm, the middle boy was helping Mzee Kitula herd the cattle into the cattle pen, and the oldest son was returning from the community well on a bicycle loaded with buckets of water. All of this before school, all before 7 am.
So, while life in the US may seem easier to some, it was in my week at Mzee Kitula’s that made me truly come to respect the way Tanzanians raise their families. Raising them to be strong, self-sufficient, capable human beings but also allowing them to have fun and be children.
This post was written by Mainsprings