Written during late afternoon walk in Usa, Tanzania, Africa:

To walk without purpose or direction is unheard of here.
They giggle and laugh and probably think
I’m crazy.

This is how people live.

Next to trees and crops and untended weeds
Dirt paths pave the way
To Bibi’s, the stream, the market, to work.

It’s a simple life, with no judgment
Only when your skin is white
Your clothes were bought new and not secondhand
They call out a greeting
To test if you can respond.

When you do
You’re in their world.

He is 7. Maybe 6.
An empty Kilimanjaro water bottle becomes a cane
20 goats rally by.

An old Bibi walks by with a blue bucket on her head
[She-ka-moh] I say.
Her hands go to her heart,
Thank you, she responds in her native tongue.
Her eyes, though turning white with cataracts
Glisten with appreciation
That this stranger can exchange a simple greeting,
A gesture of simple understanding
Grateful that two colors of skin
Does not mean
Two different worlds.

I stand here listening to the crickets chirp
The chickens cluck
A rooster crows
The wind rustles through the leaves
Of the tree that lives beside me
In this moment

This is my neighborhood.

What a foreign concept to us
To wash dishes using water from the stream
To drink milk you just milked from the cow 2 hours ago
To hack the grass for your cow to feed,

But this is my neighborhood.

The children spot you
Run just close enough to see you and you see them
“Mzungu” they sing.
Some stand and stare
Others come close and touch your arm, your hair.
Curiosity/Rumors that our pockets are filled with
Lollies, dollars, gifts.
That if they touch us, their pockets will fill too.

A cow moos.
2 girls walk with red pails of water on their heads.
A 13 year old asks for my notebook.
He has a stack of fresh grass balanced on his head.

This is my neighborhood.


About hanakojustice

I want to experience the world, in all aspects from food to travel to friends and awkward experiences, through writing and comedy and art - appreciating nature, and trying to be healthy; inspiring individuals, and motivating - and most importantly: Living in the Present.

One response »

  1. Linda Justice says:

    Love it Hana. beautiful. Linda

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