Friday, March 19, 2010

Heart vs Home

What was once a far removed possibility now suddenly fills my every thought with it’s reality. The fact that I might have to leave Tanzania looms larger than life in my every day and it makes my heart weary.

I am reminded of a passage from Out of Africa when Karen finally had to say goodbye to Ngong farm: “It was a curious thing that I myself did not, during this time, ever believe that I would have to give up the farm or to leave Africa. I was told that I must do so by the people round me, all of them reasonable men; I had letters from home by each mail to prove it, and all the facts of my daily life pointed to it. All the same nothing was further from my thoughts, and I kept on believing that I should come to lay my bones in Africa. For this firm faith I had no other foundation, or no other reason, than my complete incompetence to imagine anything else.”

Unlike Karen, I would never leave Africa. If, next week, my fate is decided and I have to pack my bags, I will head to the southern most tip of Africa, not leave her. But my stay in Tanzania has come to represent a CERTAIN Africa for me. An Africa so different to my childhood.

I grew up in the Boland, surrounded by wine farms and fruit orchards. It is green, lush and beautiful. Summer days are filled with glasses of crisp Sauvignon and winter evenings with a sultry Merlot. In South Africa everything works (ok, most things but compared to here – everything!) and there is a Woolies food around every corner. Most importantly, there is my home, where friends and family gather around a large wooden table and talk long into the cool evenings.

But here, in Tanzania I have fallen incurably in love with an Africa much wilder, much more exotic, much more chaotic, much more intoxicating. You will either hate living here, or lose your heart forever in the dusty corners of Dar. I have done the latter and this blog is partly a testimony to that. If you have been journeying with us, you would have discovered some of the reasons that people come here for a month or two, but end up staying years.

At this stage, I can only hope that my time here is not done. I will know for certain next week. In the meantime my mind is horribly torn between holding on to this place that I have come to love so much, or slowly letting go and embracing the idea of heading home.



  1. ahhh...neighbour what a funny limbo time...but as one friend once said 'This too shall come to pass'.

  2. Oh my dear! Reading the passage from "Out of Africa" had me almost in tears, stupid blog post making me realize that my own departure is getting closer and closer! Good luck and keep me posted (no pun intended).