Tanzania has entered my soul
And paced my blood;
So that when I wake each morning,
I search for the warm December sun
And the bright blue sky
In the grey, crisp Michigan air
That stings my lungs with cold.
“Polepole,” I tell myself,
As I drive too quickly over
Good roads covered with ice and snow,
Missing the washboard roads
That jarred my body as much as
The vast array of sights and sounds
Jarred my First World expectations.
“Asante sana,” I whisper to the Cosmos,
In gratitude for being allowed to witness
The wonder of animals and birds
Going about their daily life in a
Array of landscapes that photos
Can hint at, but not fully recapture.
I can still feel the courtesy and dignity
Of the Maasai herders on the sides of hills
Or open plains,
The dedicated teachers of a struggling school,
The orphans lovingly cared for in a small, stark compound,
And Athumani or Richard,
Explaining where to look so we could really see.
I have washed my clothes
And sent my camera out to be cleaned;
So the dust of Tanzania is a visceral memory.
I have started to post photos on my blog,
To try to share the wonders of what I saw;
But when I wake at three in the morning,
Not quite back in my own time zone,
I can feel Tanzania in my body
And see it in my head;
And I know that being there changed me.