OMG Culture Shock

I just wanted to write a quick post to let everyone know I’ve arrived in Tanzania safely and am experiencing the biggest culture shock of my life. I felt a bit out of place Sunday and Monday because I find I don’t relate to any of the other volunteers here as they’re all just either in their late teens or early 20’s and I can already sense that their starry eyed idealism is going to fade away once they get through university and are exposed to the “real world” of feeling the need to do well and earn good money…..

So I’m spending most of my time in solitude, and I sensed it would be this way before I came…..a time for self reflection and a reassessment of values to find a more balanced way of living a life that’s still “professional” yet maintaining my altruistic values at the same time, because I often start to see things in black and white i.e. To give back to the world, you have to be poor, and to live a life that’s comfortable materially you have to be greedy and self centred…..I’m sure there’s a middle ground somewhere. I’m very well aware that I can’t change the world in a few short weeks of volunteering overseas at an orphanage, but I feel that I’m getting a broader perspective of life by being here and also assessing what can actually be done to help make positive changes over here….I can see that idealism and having a fairy like mentality of waving magic wands and changing the world like most of the 18-20 year olds here have isn’t really the answer. Although their hearts are in the right place to make a large impact, for anything to thrive there needs to be a combination of business mindedness and love for humanity.

Up until this morning when I met all the kids at the orphanage I started asking myself  “why did I come here!?” because I was feeling a bit isolated and also awkward because being of Indian ancestry,  I have been getting mistaken for a Tanzanian since there are a lot of Indian people living here and most people have expected that I would be able to speak Swahili. Before I came here people told me everyone would be able to recognize that I’m a tourist…….but I suppose when you take away the fancy clothes, make up and I’m sweaty and disgusting just like everyone else you can tell the difference! LOL

I will probably post another blog entry in a few days, I will be going to Zanzibar by myself this weekend for some beach time. No cute pics this time cause the internet here is very slow!

 

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6 thoughts on “OMG Culture Shock

  1. Those idealistic volunteers are in for a bad reality check! Enjoy working with the children and don’t let that bring you down. I’m sure you won’t be feeling isolated for long 🙂

    1. I flew here through the US, from Washington DC, there was no direct flight so I flew to Adis Ababa first and then from there to Arusha in TZ. Im not in Dar es Salaam, that is about a 10 hour bus ride from here, I am in the north of Tanzania. Thank you!

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