I'm taking time to be with my cousin so am not doing a lot of writing now. But the latest lesson I've learned on the road is this--
Africa beats to its own rythym. The way people view the world is vastly different than in the west. As a visitor sometimes these differences can get frustrating as we judge their value system as flawed without taking time to TRULY understand the circumstances that shaped their values.
The massive NGO aid coming into the continent has created a "give me" mentality in many ways to the point where the majority Africans see white skin and immeditaly associate that with weatlh and free handouts. But remember, we in the west created this monster and as an independent traveler this can get frustrating when we just want to make friends and keep it real. It is a challenge to find a friendship where there is no expectation of "assisting", "supporting" or "helping". That's just the way it is. So we can fight it or accept it. Our choice.
So tolerance, compassion and understanding must be practiced on this continent or you will go crazy and leave with a bad taste in your mouth. Keep this in mind before you venture out on independent, adventure travel.
If you go with a tour group, well, I don't know how it will be as I don't roll that way. This is a lovely, safe, exciting continent to travel in. But we just have to keep things in perspective to manage our peace of mind.
Over and out from Tanzania!
Wednesday, April 04, 2007
I recovered from the bout of dishonest folks and muscled up my courage to pedal 3 days in northern Zambia. I met some amazing people, likely saved the lives of a few babies suffering from Malaria, and made it to Malawi with a huge smile! Malawi is heaven--great people, awesome roads, rockin music. Lovin it! Just arrived in Lilongwe and will be meeting my cousin Shannon shortly for some good fun. over and out!