Today I’m a toddler. Only slightly more independent than a baby and equally as able to misunderstand everything and get into trouble.
I’m learning from those around me, but I don’t know the language. I think I’m ready to venture out on my own but everything is so unfamiliar that I get lost at the first street corner. I’m sure I can make others understand what I mean, but all the tools in my toolbox don’t seem to work here. I usually feel more capable than this don’t I? Even in challenging situations, I can be a champion! But I’ve certainly yet to win any trophies here.
It’s confusing adapting to being helpless. Even in the middle of the Canadian prairies, alone, with a flat tire and a dead cell phone, I’d have more resources than I would surrounded by avocados, in the middle of the Bunda market, trying to buy an avocado. Instead I’ve learned how to ask for help, how to take help and how to give a proper thank you. Not quite as fulfilling as fixing my own flat, but it all amounts to progress.
To perpetuate this feeling of dependence, I have been “under the weather” for the last few days. While I am normally completely capable of nursing myself back to good health, being sick is a completely different animal when in a foreign country.
But time after time our endless mistakes are greeted with smiles and laughter. CPAR staff are constantly having to heard us to the right side (which is the left side) of the road to which they just laugh and poke fun at our sillyness. Everything we do (wrong) is funny! Everything they do wrong is also funny…? I am so pleasantly surprised at how good natured Tanzanians are. A traffic jam, a misunderstanding, there is literally laughter everywhere.
I think of how this might be different in Canada. Scratch that. I know how this would be different in Canada. People not knowing where to walk – well they deserve a honk! Visitors that don’t know any functional English – well why bother with them… I made a mistake – how dare you laugh at me… what about my feelings?
Even the kids at school. The classroom is a fun place. We make mistakes, they make mistakes, we all laugh together. Mistakes are greeted with smiles and time, not frustration and impatience. I know this happens in Canada too, but there is something infectious about the laughter here! Or maybe I’ve just been in a funk for a while. Really doesn’t matter does it?
Loving the laughter.