Friday, October 14, 2005

Let's go for a walk, in Africa.

The main street in Moshi, Tanzania

When i step out of the café and into the bright afternoon sun i am greeted by Africa. As i walk down the street, a little girl of six or seven in a blue and white school uniform stops.. and smiles at me. Women line the sidewalks sitting down behind the various fruits they are selling, which are stacked in nice neat little pyramids to make them more attractive. A young boy runs down the road pushing a single giant tire, but what is he going to do with ONE tire?? I see a man with a semi-automatic weapon slung over his shoulder, yet he has no uniform and no one seems alarmed – is this normal? I see a woman wearing a tattered Arizona Diamondbacks hat and a man wearing a Tennessee Titans shirt, but i am certain that neither has seen either sport before. As i continue on a man shouts “Hello my friend!” just to say hello – i nod and smile. An entire street is lined with women sitting behind the most primitive sewing machines, waiting.. waiting for the day that everyone in Africa has enough money to have their clothes hand tailored and they reap a fortune. Sometimes you must walk in the street because there is no sidewalk. I pass by a shop selling televisions.. TELEVISIONS, but who can afford them?? There is some odd music blaring from somewhere, but why? It’s really lost in the shuffle anyway. Two proud Maasai warriors sit on a curb in their signature brilliantly colored togas each holding their walking staff as they watch the swirling chaos of life go by. Young boys carry cardboard boxes or woven baskets jingling change in their hand to attract attention to the wares they are selling – anything from peanuts to toothpaste, water pistols to candy. A man passing by shouts “Jambo!” followed by “How was Kili??” and as we pass i give him a thumbs up and wonder if i know him.. before realizing that’s impossible.

Just by walking down the street here i become a part of everything around me. In America, everyone is living in their own little world, encouraged more and more to associate less and less by the thieving shroud of technology. In Africa, we are what we used to be – the living breathing dying sweating talking smiling laughing dancing coughing HULK that is humanity.

ps. tomorrow i will be taking off for a five day wildlife safari and the day after is my birthday. all i want for my birthday is to hear a lion roar in the night while i am lying in my tent.. god wouldn't that be great!


At 2:28 PM, Anonymous gram-master-flash said...

happy birthday, boy! (just in case you're busy wondering around in a fantastic african safari in two days)

i hope your wish comes true : )

At 3:13 PM, Anonymous Mom said...

If a lion does roar, I hope he is inside a cage, and NOT inside your tent! Happy Birthday, and many,many,many..........more - ILY!

At 7:40 PM, Blogger FWA said...

Looks like we'll both be celebrating a birthday in Africa. Having a great time in Egypt, looks like you're doing the same in Tanzania.


At 12:51 AM, Anonymous IronFist said...

This is my favorite passage yet in your string of stories... keep 'em coming!!

At 1:40 PM, Blogger artie6 said...

hey johnny5 i guess you want me to return that iPod and Blackberry I got you for your birthday then? can't wait to hear about the Safari man... You should submit your blog to Lonely Planet so you can ditch DOC and get on with your true calling in life...

At 7:00 PM, Blogger Sarah Loukota said...

At quick glance, the main street of Moshi, Tanzania looks strangely similar to Downtown Tempe. An architecural paradox?

Happy 27th, hope you got to hear your lion roar.

At 7:33 AM, Anonymous Fr. Mark said...

Jambo John!
Your blog is very well done!
It is almost like I am on the journey with you. You should seriously consider writing for a travel magazine.
I want to wish you a
"matakeo ya Utafutaji Kwa"
(Happy Birthday in Swahili)
reading your travel blog is a great way to wrap up some depressing days here in New Orleans. It is really heartbreaking to see this city still in shambles. Feels like an
underdeveloped nation.
Enjoy the rest of your time there!
Tutaonana! (until we see each other again)
Fr. Mark

At 5:59 AM, Anonymous Matt B said...

Wicked good blog my friend. Your photos kick ass too!
Very glad to hear your adventure is living up to your expectations.
I hope you get your lion wish. That would be pretty damn cool.

Take care. See you soon.


At 3:50 PM, Blogger Mike said...

Good on ya John!! Every little kid should have a big brother like you.

Never stop looking up...not only for yourself, but for those who will start to look up for themselves.

At 5:28 AM, Blogger Sun Mars said...

Tanzania is Beautiful place.


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