'What I love about Tanzania is the deep complexity and the massive contrasts'.
I can hear myself formulate this pretentious sentence at a presentation somewhere in Denmark where I have to pass on the idea that I know exactly what's going on between me and Tanzania. Being honest - I am not perfect - this is also the kind of relationship which on occasion makes me so kali that I long for the Danes' obsession with organising things and sticking to plans; their telling the plain truth and not fearing consequences; and with their 'we're all equal and all entitled'.
It isn't easy to understand that Tanzania looks like one thing seen from the Level 8 at the Kilimanjaro Kempinski, and something totally different if you take a 10 minutes' walk from there to the Kigamboni Ferry;
Also not to explain why the American Embassy have got people lying on their knees cutting the lush, green lawns in shape with scissors (!), while the fabulous aunotomous kelele is taking place only 5 minutes around the corner on Kimweri Avenue.
That you have people here who can live for a month on 150,000 shillings while providing for their family also;
Expats who take home a monthly salary, (which would make the average Tanzanian and his/her extended family survive for years), but who will in stead complain about all the stuff her/she doesn't have/gave up for coming here;
People who don't need to work, but who will still lead an interesting life;
People who have employment but who will not lift a finger while in office;
Hunter-gatherers from the Akiye-tribe in Kiteto who starve when access to land and animals is reduced, and men from rich, foreign tribes who hunt big game to kill leisure time and trophys to boost their egos;
People who think that their social value goes up through a membership of the Dar es Salaam Yacht Club, but who may be socially incapable on both sides of the gate.
Missionaries with concrete, missions, and NGO-directors paying consultants to concretise missions;
The European business woman complaining about getting up early, another that 'the level is too low in Tanzania', and 'that Africa isn't as creative as Europe', but who all themselves lack the ability of imagining what they themselves look like in a Tanzanian context.
Musicians, models and fashion designers looking like millions, but still eating ugali for lunch, taking bucket showers and riding the daladala home.
Tanzania has to be experienced over time.
During the (few) years I have been in and out of Tanzania I have connected with a multiplicity of people, and contrasts often stand out stark. As much as I love settings which appear simple on the surface but turn out be be more complex when you revisit, it is also often the reason why I experience moments where I consider giving up getting closer.
Probably as there are psychological limits to what I can comprehend in a certain amount of time, and because it demands strength to accecpt and adapt to the system of complexities and contrasts.
And I simply haven't been round long enough to know if I will reach that point, or if I should rather start writing fiction instead of trying to understand facts.