Tanzanians are so nice!

 

 

The most profound experience I had on the trip happened in the first week when we were staying at Sekomu University in Lushoto.  We went down to the busy market on Sunday afternoon and split into groups to look around.  Lushoto is very high up in the mountains and it is very rainy.  I wore sandals and my feel were covered in mud right away.  I noticed that many of the local people didn’t have messy feet– probably because of all the practice they’ve had.  While we were finishing up our shopping and heading back to our bus we had to walk through a narrow path between shops.  There were people all around trying to squeeze through. Of course, I slipped on the muddy ledge and fell…  I landed right on my bottom and got my orange skirt covered in the mud.  I was really embarrassed– I heard some children laughing at me. Everyone was looking at me and I started to tear up because I felt like a typical tourist who didn’t know how to get around.  It was really overwhelming to have all these strangers staring at me and I couldn’t help but cry a little.  I just wanted to leave.  Our friend Kadeghe who was leading the group I was in asked one of the shop keepers if he could use their bucket of rain water to wash my hands off since they were muddy.  The woman agreed but when she saw me she looked right into my eyes and I could see she felt sorry for me.  She started to splash water on my skirt and rub out the mud.  Kadeghe got a scrub brush from another shop and the woman took in and started to scrub the dirt out of my skirt–all while I was standing in the middle of the market.  Everyone was staring at me.  They could tell how embarrassed I was and wanted to change that.  It was the most overwhelming yet wonderful feeling.  I kept thanking her in what little Swahili I knew.  A man came up speaking to me and bent down to wash the mud off my feet for me.  The woman rung out my skirt and you couldn’t even tell I fell.  I couldn’t believe what had just happened.  It amazes me how, despite all our differences, the woman recognized my need and helped me.  Once she started helping, others joined in and wanted to help too.  With all the other terrible things going on around the world, this experience gave me hope.  I am so happy I fell in the mud.  

  🙂

~Heidi

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