The Things I’ll Miss

I’ll miss the colors. Everywhere you turn in Tanzania you’ll find a rainbow of kangas and kitenges, whether they are being worn as garments or baby carriers or thrown over a clothes line to dry.
I’ll miss being constantly impressed by the new things I see women balancing on their heads.
I’ll miss being referred to as “Mama.” As soon as you become a mother in Tanzania, you are referred to as “Mama ____,” with the blank being the name of your first child. For example, to Tanzanians I’m “Mama Eva,” or simply, “Mama.” Some women might see this as demeaning- as if you lose your own identity once you become a mother. But I find it endearing. I love the title, “Mama.” I’ll proudly wear it, like a doctor or official.
I’ll miss being woken up in the middle of the night by the loud thump of mangoes falling on the tin roof of my carport. Yes, this annoys the hell out of me at times, but it’s also kind of special.
Speaking of mangos, I’ll miss the freshest, juiciest mangos I’ve tasted in the world (and trust me… I’ve tried a lot of them).
I’ll miss the chapati and chicken masala and samosas, as well.
I’ll miss being able to haggle for almost anything.
I’ll miss walking down the road and having people I know honk and wave as they drive by. Whoever thought I’d be a Masaki local? I don’t see that happening in Virginia any time soon (or at all).
I’ll miss meeting and getting to know people from all over the world. It just doesn’t happen as often in the United States.
At least not in the places I’ve lived.
I’ll miss the friends I’ve made during my journey here. It hurts to think I may never see some of them again.
I’ll miss knowing that just a short trip up the road there are elephants and lions and zebras and all sorts of amazing animals free as can be.
I’ll miss the turquoise water and empty waves.
I’ll miss the “pole pole” life.
At least some of the time.


  1. wow Erica this is going to be one big change for you and your family! lots of wonderful things to miss! but I’m sure you will appreciate lots of things in your new home town as well πŸ˜‰
    beautiful photo!

  2. Wow, sometimes when I read your blog I kind of forget that you’re living in Africa, on a continent and in a country so different from our “western” world. You make it sound so effortless (and I guess you’ve had plenty of time to adjust by now) and normal and homey despite being so far away from friends and family. But I’m impressed by this post and how it captures the spirit, the experiences and the longing for foreign places and new experiences. I wish you all the best for your move and hope you’ll be able to carry those special experiences in your heart for ever (and I bet Eva will really wish she’d be able to remember your time in Tanzania once she gets older and looks at the photographs ;))

  3. i will miss your weekly recaps from Tanzania too. i loved living Tanzania through the wonderful pictures you took. i love the picture of Eva’s friend walking down the beach that autumn day, i can picture it as a poster in her house. the friends you made are going to miss so much, you’re such a wonderful woman

    big hug

  4. Sounds amazing! How were the kids there- anyone get sick? I’m afraid of traveling outside US with kids because I got sick as a kid once overseas πŸ™ Love the photo of women on beach too!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *