Can Diamond Platnumz emigrate?
Today is about general impressions, the differences between my expectations and reality and the most notable events of recent times.
A 'Christmas Tree' in Mto wa Mbu - Mosquito River.
The center of life in this country is the community. It applies; who is alone is weird. You spend the whole day with people. You stay in the staff room until the end, even if you don't have any more lessons. Simply because of the community. Then you sit down again and chat about the day's events until evening or visit friends to do the same. When I come home in the afternoon, however, I have to withdraw first to collect myself and to come to terms, because all the experiences and encounters are so intense. This is due to the foreign language, the new people, the different customs, etc.
Among other things, the hygiene awareness is completely different. When Michael licks the last drop of tea off the cap of the Termos jug one morning, I'm once again ... let's say, surprised. At the school in Makuyuni there is a pipe peeping out of the floor, from which all the students suck water with their mouths. Because the water bottles brought with you are there to wash your hands. Sure, that makes sense. When I tell this to my friend Eric, shocked, he just laughs and tells me about the Maasai's drinking habits. In their settlements there is a large puddle that is used for bathing and from which both humans and animals drink. Great god. Nevertheless, the Maasai would never have stomach problems, simply because they are used to the circumstances and therefore have an incredibly resilient immune and digestive system from childhood.
The teacher's toilet in the primary school. Reason for me not to drink coffee in the morning!
Eric is, by the way, a really nice guy. We share many views: hitting children is bad, the world needs more love, experiences are sometimes worth more than money, etc. That's cheesy, I know. Still, I'm happy to have someone I can talk to without having to hold back with my opinion. I give him guitar lessons more often. He is incredibly motivated, practices daily and makes rapid progress. I am also helping him with an application essay for a Michigan State University support program for African students. In other words, I'm basically rewriting it completely. I don't care though, I wish him very much that he can go there. If anyone deserves it, it's him.
The time also takes getting used to. Anyone can tell me the "normal" time, but traditionally the day starts in the morning at seven o'clock in the first hour. I.e. at seven it is one o'clock. At eight two o'clock, etc., brain jogging. I also miss hearing and saying please, thank you, health, sorry more often. You just don't do that so regularly here. I didn't think I'd ever miss such banalities. 'Sorry', however, is often said on occasions for which others cannot help. I stumble and someone says 'Sorry'. Very strange.
The rubbish that flies around everywhere bothers me as a tidy German because it contributes - in addition to the pollution and the unsightly sight - above all to further trample on my sketched image of the originally "natural" Africa. Here, too, the continent once again eludes my expectations.
In Germany I was very optimistic that I would also learn something musically here, as many of the influences that I appreciate in my favorite soul, funk, blues and jazz music originally come from Africa (it would be out of place here, ask me if necessary if I'm back home). However, the enlightenment has stayed away from me until now. To be honest, I am very disappointed in this regard. In the media and on television you can only find trash. The chart music, which does not come from abroad, consists of cheap samples, synthesizer beats and is sung by artists who use the voice correction program auto tune consider it a musical instrument. In addition, these artists all emulate the American idols by showing off fat cars, lascivious lolling women in submissive poses and a lot of pomp in the music videos. As a musician policeman, that hurts me a lot while watching. Nevertheless, they are adored without equal by the people here and everyone knows the lyrics of the current chart songs. If you are interested, here is the link to a compilation of the Tanzanian charts in September: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8LCQTX3CiNg The song 'Hey Brother' by Avicii is also a hype, because CocaCola has the money, to broadcast an infinitely long commercial with this song, day in and day out. On all channels. I was also shocked when Eric revealed to me that he loves country songs. What's up with this coutry popularity here? First in Moshi with Aritha's band, then in between at the wedding and now here. His favorite artist is Don William. Unbelievable. In addition to music, soap operas and reality TV are also booming on television. For me in Germany they are an insult to all common sense. It's the same here. There is only more dancing. But at least not as much as in Bollywood.
The artist "Diamond Platnumz" - no joke - with a vehicle of his choice.
As much as I disdain this emulation of the highest Western virtues such as self-presentation and the display of wealth by owning consumer goods on television and in other media (ordinary people often try to imitate that, everyone wants to be the next gangster rapper; they do it hurts especially when watching), because I am inevitably part of and the driving force behind this globalization. In the afternoons Grace, Michael and I now sit together more often and drink coffee. My idea. They enjoy it. Do I dislike this role? I dont know. Do not worry. The orientation towards (apparently) Western ideal images is also expressed on Sundays, when a visit to the church is the order of the day. Then the straight synthetic hair wigs are strapped on and the best clothes are put on. Some women even take a lot of time and chemistry to actually straighten their hair. As a European, can I admit (at least on my blog) that I don't think synthetic hair is pretty? Yes, I can, because people don't wear it to please me, they wear it for each other. And seriously, how high is the probability that a European with his straight hair should actually get lost in this little village? Almost zero. As well as.
Kahawa (Coffee) - A truly heavenly (instant) drink.
Speaking of religion. The Christian and Islamic missionaries have done a great job in Tanzania. In Makuyuni alone there are six churches, the construction of which ranges from large pomp buildings to mere board crates. There is also a mosque. The muezzin can sing well, I think. The style sounds very unusual, but also very demanding and not uncomfortable. I could not do it. On Sundays the whole day from all the churches the same songs are heard loudly in a loop over to our property. So far I have mostly met people with Christian or Muslim names or name constructions; One student is even called Praise-John ... Better not to comment on that.
One of the churches in the village.
Not only in music, but overall there is a kind of second-hand culture that I can (and will) only very difficult to put into words, evaluate and reflect. I also try to avoid an evaluation because Europe is responsible for a lot of it. The flooding of the markets with frozen cheap meat (especially poultry) from the EU prevents local companies from charging prices that are necessary for survival. Ergo there are fewer and fewer jobs in this sector. Not to mention the collection of old clothes. It is impossible for local tailors to produce and sell clothes as cheaply as the bulk goods are sold from Europe. For the EU advantageous trade agreements, concluded on the basis of threats of tariff increases, prevent a development here (cf. floodlights No. 59, magazine of the BPB). Meat and clothing are just two examples of a widespread problem. China also exports heavily to Tanzania (probably to Africa as a whole, but I don't want to speculate too much and don't want to write a seminar paper here). Plastic goods and technology in particular come from Asia. The most popular (because cheapest) smartphone brand is 'Tecno', of which it is estimated that everyone here has a copy. Internet research confirms what I assumed; these cell phones are the last rubbish. Because most imports are just that; Scrap metal. Even the meat is C-grade, everything is incredibly tough and greasy and there is often offal. I am now saying that I am a vegetarian so as not to offend anyone. It's easier than saying that I just can't get most of it down. When my grandma used to keep chickens, she had a chicken bowl that all the table scraps were put in and then fed to the chickens. Is it arrogant and arrogant to compare Africa to the chicken bowl of the western world? Am I not allowed to make this comparison? I don't know, but it just forced itself on me.
My host sister, Grace, while cooking.
Fortunately, this picture only applies to some areas of life. There are many things that Europeans, Americans and everyone else who looks down on Africa can learn from a great deal. I already mentioned the hospitality. The ability to suffer, long-suffering and patience are also high virtues here, without which one does not get very far in everyday life. The buses only leave when they are full. And full is a relative term here, because the little Dala Dalas are also called the buses that are never full. Driving with 22 people in a van with seats for 10 people is my previous record.
Glance into a Dala Dala that is far from being filled.
That doesn't work if you can't stand them mummy takes up too much space next to you, the man on the other side sweats a lot or the stooped, stooped, corpulent lady with her bosom comes dangerously close to you. That bothers me. But the people here aren't a bit, because they are used to it, they have patience, because somehow everything will work out: mongoose akipenda - God willing.
Shoes on the sokoni,the second hand market in Arusha.
Said smartphones are often only used to take self-portraits, many people are amazed when I show them what great tools they are actually holding in their hands. How to use Google Maps and hotspots are just two examples. For me it goes without saying. The technical awareness and the use of it is completely different from what I am used to. Many devices are used intuitively. You could google instructions or a recipe, but very few come up with such ideas. In Germany you often hear the phrase 'do something decent'. That is strange here. In many areas there is great indifference and sloppiness. For example, there is no feeling for the professional maintenance and design of shops, buses, houses, infrastructure and many other things, but also no need for them. In return, the shops and buses are hand-painted and designed all the more individual, colorful and artistic.
A 76-year-old Maasaichief lives nearby and has more than 70 children from over 30 women. He is a cattle herder and has built an entire village and a school for his “family” in the course of his life (with government support). I was told that even now there are still small children of his (!) Running through the village. He is a celebrity in the area. And rightly so, I think.
If one believes that the Maasai are the prototype of the primeval African tribes, one is wrong. They still lead a preferred nomadic existence and keep large herds of cattle, which they drive across the steppes here every day. Nevertheless, they also make use of many technical achievements (smartphones are the best example) and take the Dala Dalas to the larger settlements to trade with the other tribes. You can recognize them by their traditional plaid robes and their throaty language. The men usually carry a carved stick and a large knife (symbols of masculinity). The women often have pierced ears that are hung with simple but elaborate jewelry. The 'tunnels' that some people in Germany work their way into their earlobes are a joke on the other hand. I could easily slide my hand through the earlobes of some Maasai women while they are sitting in front of me on the bus. Eric says the Maasai are the richest people in Tanzania who don't know about it. They live in small huts, tend their cattle and often do not have enough money to send their children to secondary school. After primary school, education here unfortunately still costs money. For a year of public secondary school you pay around 20,000 and 70,000 TSH, the equivalent of 8 - 28 euros. That is too much for many families in rural areas, especially since they often have many children. The Maasai's wealth now lies in their herds of cattle. Even among the Maasai people are considered "rich" if they have many cattle. What most don't know, however, is that they could get up to TSH 1,000,000 for selling a healthy Oxen. Even for a liter of milk they could get up to 5000 TSH in the dry season, which already corresponds to the daily cost of living. A beef gives about 2 liters of milk a day. If you extrapolate all of this, Maasai with large herds of cattle are not only incredibly rich by their own definition and could give their children the very best education and would not have to live in huts. Some Maasai, who realize how much money they are hoarding, are now also going this way. But many simply do not understand it or do not want to understand it. It really all depends on the definition of wealth. However, one must also oppose it; the more people's lifestyles adapt to globalization and capitalism, the more their cultural wealth may be lost. Two sides of the same coin.
Admittedly, the picture is not mine, but it just happens to fit my description very well.
The image that Europeans may have of the “Bushman” is perhaps more confirmed by the people of the Hadzabe tribe. They actually use clicks to communicate. Eric says they are excellent hunters and because of their tribal culture and small tribal size (<1000 people) they have a special permit from the government to hunt game, which is normally protected. This mainly includes monkeys. These are considered a delicacy there. Just to complement the picture; the Hadzabe usually walk around only half-clothed or with a loincloth. Young and old smoke marijuana all day, and bows and arrows are like an extension of their limbs to them, as well as they can handle it. This information is from Eric. I'm not sure yet if I want to verify it personally. If so, Eric offers to guide me. He says all you have to do is bring a small gift. The best thing is some marijuana or a goat, which will then be slaughtered in my honor.
There is a lot of prejudice between the tribes. The Pare tribe from Kilimanjaro is said to be so stingy that they sometimes just eat that when they eat Ugali picture paint a fish, hang it in front of you and then imagine the taste. That's - I can't think of a suitable German adjective - amazing. Whatsapp sends such joke pictures about them:
Up to this point in this article the word 'originally' has often been used in connection with my expectations of the country or the continent. It seems, no, I know that my image of Africa is / was shaped by many stereotypes. To experience now that a lot is completely different than expected is on the one hand difficult (people are known to be creatures of habit and like to think in boxes), but on the other hand it is also incredibly exciting. I look forward to more surprises.
Because of my frustrating experiences in English class, I decided to start my own project to promote the English language skills of the students. Every Monday and Thursday afternoon I would like to offer an additional lesson for half of the sixth grade. I call it 'Talk with Tim' because that's what it's supposed to be about; promoting active rather than passive language elements. I want students not to just copy and try to say something they don't understand. I want them to master the basics, be able to communicate easily and dare to use the whole thing.Last Thursday it happened for the first time and I went to class at 3 p.m. with mixed feelings. As feared, the teacher asked me if she could come with me to “help” me. Of course I said yes. For the first lesson, I had thought of a small introductory dialogue with simple questions and answers such as 'hello, how are you, who are you, what is your job, etc'. I believed that after (or maybe despite?) Six years of teaching English you should be able to answer such questions right away. Not even close. So I slowly started asking the students the questions. They stared at me with big, frightened eyes. I always sat down on the bench next to the pupil concerned and very slowly repeated my questions, word for word. I also wrote them on the board with the appropriate answers and translations in Swahili. At first the teacher actually bleated me more often when I was trying to create a safe atmosphere. Fortunately, she later left the room and the rest of the class was a complete success. I kept emphasizing that it is okay and good to make mistakes. Little by little, the students thawed out and embarked on the unfamiliar way of teaching. But when I asked them to practice dialogue with a partner, they were completely confused. But even that succeeded some couples. It will continue right there for the next hour. At the end everyone stood up and applauded me. Some even cheered and shouted 'Yeah, teacher!' The was perhaps a wonderful feeling and a fantastic confirmation of my efforts. How nice it is when the work is worth it. I am a little proud.
A few days ago my odyssey about getting a work permit finally came to an end. After I had already tried in vain to contact the responsible authorities at home, then tried my luck in Moshi and then investigated in Monduli, I was finally instructed to visit the Migration Office in Arusha. So fine. My last piece of information was that if I presented an employment contract and a personally written application letter, I wouldn't have to pay anything. I owned both. Fortunately, I was accompanied by James. Without him I would - once again - have been in a fix. At first I noticed the thick clocks and the even thicker bellies of the officers. That fitted in with James ‘suggestion that despite the promising announcements made by the new President Magufuli, corruption is still flourishing here. Our first contact's gold watch wasn't even working. The little pig eyes in his bulging face flitted over my papers and finally got stuck on the signatures and the date (I'm sure he didn't understand the rest). Chewing on a toothpick with relish, he told us that a work permit cost $ 250. I had heard of this amount before, but thought that I would be able to rely on my last information, after all I had received it from my headmaster in Makuyuni. So I was flabbergasted, angry and disappointed. James directed me to sit on the waiting bench. After a while he waved me outside. He had negotiated a price of 100 dollars with a lot of begging, persuasion and patience. That's better than 250, but how random is that ?! Anger stirred in me. In the end, I had no choice but to pay this price, because now they had my data and could easily track what I was doing where. So to the bank and then back to the office. I was then cross-examined in the supervisor's office. 'Why do you want to volunteer?' He asked me loudly. I felt yelled at. What kind of a stupid question was that? I talked about experiences and mutual benefits. ,Aha! So you want to benefit from our land! But you are not allowed to do that with your tourist visa! You're here to spend your money in hotels and national parks, get it ?! We already have teachers who can teach! ‘With so much agitated pigs, I couldn't find any words. He must have known as well as I did how stupid his announcements were. Nonetheless, he clearly enjoyed savoring his position of power. As if I hadn't tried to go the legal route! What does he actually want? I just couldn't have said anything. Such a (insert any swear word here). Suddenly he asked me: 'How is Germany?' 'Well, nice,' I said dully. 'The weather is rather gloomy, but we have some good football teams'. Direct hit. He jumped on this train immediately and we talked about Bayern. After that he was suddenly much friendlier and very helpful. In no time at all, I got my stamp. I could also extend my visa there for free when the time comes. He wished me a nice day.
With so much obsession, arbitrary bureaucracy and incompetence, I feel very sick. I'm just happy to have finally done the stupid stamp and the story with it.
Please don't get me wrong - I describe things as I see them. That doesn't work entirely without a rating (that would be boring, too). I don't want to ridicule the many cultural peculiarities that may appear absurd, naive, grotesque or simple-minded in European eyes. I have a great respect for (most) people here. After all, you only live here as well as you can.
That's it for now. It's really hard to decide what's interesting and what's not. I can't even mention a lot of crazy little things without stretching the contribution into infinity. But I hope I was able to give you a rough idea of my last days and thoughts. See you soon!
P.S .: You can also follow this blog by pressing the corresponding button, i.e. you will then receive an email for every newly published post. For information only 😉
My little host brother Jamil.
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