In 2016 I spent my Christmas in the motherland Tanzania and met the new year under the same sky. I exchanged winter for summer and confronted 2017 sat beside those closest to me… those closest to the roots of my family tree.
DAYS IN MOSHI:
The early mornings were a struggle, both a blessing and a curse. We experienced a full day but bared witness to it through the lenses of sleep deprivation.
NOT CRANES, BUT STARS IN THE SKY
In the distance of the mountains, past the sounds of chirping birds, moving leaves and a running river, singing is heard. The faint sound of community and unity travels through the hills and small mountains of Moshi.
I found connection in natural land that the city of London could not offer me, somehow I felt so compelled to the smells and the sounds that London’s city lights could not compare and a knowing sadness easily came to me.
Something about witnessing a town sheltered from the rain and blessed by the sun, unlike those around it seems almost holy.
A blessing. Although I understand that this is the London-raised girl in me speaking against the dull skies of my city and not the native Tanzanian unwelcoming to the dry winds.
THE ROOTS OF MY FAMILY TREE
Her hands shook with weakness, but her face displaced a long history of strength and bravery. It is rare to find many these days who openly wear love and an honest vulnerability, but along her laugh lines both qualities sat perfectly as a pair. Visiting a great auntie of ours triggered a change within me. In front of me sat 90 years of experience that my 19 years could not match, nor relate to but admire in a way one could only admire an elder – awe.
History holds the ties of our family, wirings and knots which link us to one another and through this we understand life, experience that we must witness through a pair of eyes that are not our own.
with words that are spoken from sophisticated tongues, tongues which rest heavy with the weight of life’s lessons.
I learnt of kindness and I was met with a gaze that shared the same familiar longing for family that I did.
LEAVING A MARK
Today we planted trees along the hidden bushes of Moshi in order to leave behind a legacy and to restore the land. It can be said that we blessed each plant with the power of community, family and pure happiness. The laughter and chaos moving away from our family and toward the trees so that they may be filled with richness. *Walking, or shall I say sliding down the hills, I had realised that my footwear was not the best.
The chaos of the situation, the thin planning and the spontaneity was enough to convince me to find my own roots amongst the trees of Moshi, it was enough to create a want and a hidden need within myself to place my own feet firmly in the ground and refuse to leave. I longed to remain and never return to London.
LOST IN CONNEC
We sat in a circle, as family affairs with Christ and religion were laid out upon the table. It was confession out of love… confession in the purest form. Words spoken and tears let out, I felt moved by the devotion in the room. I felt I wanted to be more, do more, be better and do better. An uncle of mine spoke to me shortly afterward and left me with the reminder that most families do not often unite without reason, but ours comes together not out of obligation but a want… and a need.
We forget sometimes, the unfamiliar familiar intimacy that arrives with the presence of distant family and the shift that occurs within us, as if something of a longing has been fulfilled. Years without visitation and yet it is until we’re all sat amongst one another that gratitude sits deep within me and a longing that I had not known until that very present moment is fulfilled.
“It can be said that we blessed each plant with the power of community, family and pure happiness…”