“Human life occurs only once, and the reason we cannot determine which of our decisions are good and which bad is that in a given situation we can make only decision; we are not granted a second, third or fourth life in which to compare decisions.”
– Milan Kundera, The Unbearable Lightness of Being, 1984.
When reading Milan Kundera’s The Unbearable Lightness of Being during my first month in Moshi I could perfectly relate to the writer’s line of thought, since it was exactly this state of mind that brought me back to Moshi. My trip to Tanzania two years ago can be described as a sample test in which I was introduced to the rich culture and nature Tanzania has to offer. The challenge is now, during this year abroad, to fully embrace these first impressions and to make them our own.
In 2014 I decided to leave the nest, to return only six weeks later, and broaden my horizon by joining C-re-a.i.d. Partner in crime at the time was Jebbe, highschool friend and fellow architecture student. After spending many hours at our desks we both wondered what it would be like to guide a project from the drawing table to the construction site. C-re-a.i.d. handed us this opportunity. Not only were we able to experience firsthand what it is to work with a trowel instead of a permanent marker, we were also introduced to the full Tanzanian experience.
Two years later, when C-re-a.i.d. posted two positions had just opened up, I started reminiscing about the time I had spend in Moshi. What would it be like to spend an entire year abroad? This time around things we’re different: not only was I about to graduate, I was no longer in the position to decide on these matters by myself. After careful reflection we, my girlfriend and me, came to the conclusion that this opportunity had presented itself at the right time. Now two months into our yearlong adventure, I can easily state that I haven’t regretted this decision a single time. Although you leave your familiar environment and miss out on parties, family dinners and so much more, it’s interesting to experience just how easily you can remodel your comfort zone.
My first stay in Moshi was one defined by a sequence of first impressions, whereas this time around the challenge is to try and incorporate these experiences: two years ago a misunderstanding about timing on construction site raised your blood pressure, it is now labelled as part of the so-called pole pole-mentality; during our six weeks stay we longed for French fries and chocolate, and now our diet consists mainly of rice, ugali and beans; in 2014 a squat toilet appeared to be a curiosity, whereas it has now become part of everyday life.
Bottom line, you do get used to anything in time. Almost anything…