After 3 months of volunteering, my friend Emma and i were ready for a holiday. We planned to do the touristy things that people come to Tanzania to do. So we went on Safari, followed by a trip to the exotic island of Zanzibar. And that's when the guilt set in. I had just spent the last 3 months telling people i had no more money to give them. And when people asked me if i was going home after Tanzania i started saying yes. It was easier to lie. Easier than explaining that Tanzania was just the start of my trip and that London was my next destination with the rest of Europe at my feet.
So we went on safari and tried not to think about what this kind of money could buy in a local village and how many kids you could send to school with it. With that pushed to the back of our minds we enjoyed being tourists and seeing more of the country where we had been working and what was outside the village of Tengeru where we had been living for the past 3 months. It's just sad that most people who live there, dont get to see what the torists see of the beautiful East African country. most locals will never get the chance to go on safari or climb Mt. Kilimanjaro. And the tourists who do get to see the major attractions don't get to see the real Africa and how people really live. Most seem to come for just enough time to fit in a safari and maybe a trip to Zanzibar or a trek up Mt Kili. And in between, they get private vans or taxis to and from their destinations, whizzing by the real Africa. I felt privalledged that i had been a part of village life and let into the lives of so many Tanzanian's.
After safari we finally made it to beautiful Zanzibar and this is when we felt like real tourists. Tourist prices, tourist swahili songs, tourist snorkelling trips, and tourist language. Everything is set up for tourists as everyone tries to make some money from them. It seems everyone or anyone will take you snorkelling or cook you dinner. They are all just trying to make some money anyway they can.
It took us a while to get into the swing of being on holiday and not doing anything more strenuous than lying on a beach in a hammock. And it's all very lovely until you get a tinge of the Zanzibarian guilts and think about the price of the cocktail you're drinking.
Walking along the beach on our last night i was fed up with every person i passed rushing over and trying to sell me a snorkeling trip. But when two little girls rushed down the sand at me, the only thing they wanted from me was a pen or a pencil. They were not asking me for money or ''pipi'' (sweets) all the wanted was a pencil. It was such a simple thing. They probably wanted it so they could go to school. But i didn't have a pen or pencil in my pocket. I didn't even have any money. I had nothing to give them and it was such i simple request. And on the beach that night, there was nothing i could do to help them. I was so frustrated i felt like crying. Three months of volunteering and still i felt like i hadn't done a thing. I knew it was time to leave Africa. I think after dealing with so much poverty and corrupt systems you become a little numb and i thought perhaps ammune to it all. But sometimes it's the little things that get to you.