Wednesday, March 3, 2010

An open heart and an open home

A much-needed birthday-weekend-getaway took me to Amani Beach Hotel on South Beach this weekend. Nestled away between leafy palms and exotic flame tree’s we arrived to the full moon dancing silver over the rippling Indian ocean. The room was lovely, the food delicious and the staff superb.

On the ferry trip back The Pilot and I were talking about our stay, the staff and how friendly and helpful they were. I realized that the open spirit, the warmth and kindness of the staff is a quality of the people in Tanzania, locals and visitors alike.

Lounging at the Irish Pub on a Friday afternoon, sipping on a glass of wine as the sun sets over the bay, one will often be joined by someone who has just arrived in Dar, or someone who has been here for years yet you have never met (despite the size of the town). After a lengthy conversation about what brings them here too, an invitation will usually be extended to lunch or a dinner or a Sunday afternoon braai. And if its not Irish it’s being stuck at Kilimanjaro airport on stand-by with no money, where the dada at the kiosk gave me money to buy tea and toast, and offered me her couch if I was stuck for the night.

And that’s what I love, as I was once one of the newbies and Bubbles welcomed me into her home, which then became my home too. Don’t get me wrong, people back home in South Africa people are also warm, inviting and sharing of their time and homes, but I think it is less often to outsiders as it is here. Dar is cosmopolitan and transient; you mix with people across age, race, class and from all over the world and you open yourself up to new people and new experiences. And I think you are less guarded too…

I think that it is one of the greatest things that I have learnt living in Dar: to have an open heart and an open home. You never know whom you may meet and what you may learn…


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