Sunday, July 13, 2008

T.I.A. - this is africa

laughing, hard working women are the backbone, yet marginalized in politics and education

this was at the wedding, where the bride looked really really sad and wouldn't talk. later it was explained to us that it would be very inconsiderate of her to act happy to be leaving her siblings and family. weddings are all day all night events, with much dancing and singing, even if brides are pretending to be sad.

my very first impression of tanzania was the ride from the airport to the hostel. everything seemed to move in slow motion. fabric fabric everywhere, yellow, green, purple, nothing matches, instead it's more like wild flowers in the field. every woman is wrapped in combinations of congas to cover lower body, the top, some hair, some to carry babies on the back, some to hold things on the head. where is all this fabric made anyway? we pass women moving, men standing in groups. seems to be the norm, women with loads of water, fruit, children, men standing, watching... children everywhere, on women's backs, in the dirt, on the roads. as we approach the actual city, it becomes faster paced just like any city. dar resembles american industrial city from the 70s. it is full of bodies, like no other city i have seen. the skin color is shades of brown and black, many women are fully covered in burkas, others covered except the face. endless pattern and color combinations drape everyone's bodies. dar is a bland of africa, arabia and india. indian women don't wear congas, their fabrics are thinner and airier, with less patterns, yet as colorful. the city is beautiful, not because it is pretty, because it is not, but because it is full of activity, bussle, full of chaos. the most fascinating part was to watch people transport things. huge, enormous size produces were carried on people's heads, bicycles, backs. one of my favorite times in dar is when we first got there. dagny and john passed out in our hostel "jumbo inn" (which by the way i totally recommend), i couldn't sleep. without knowing the city at all, i decided i needed the explore it alone, boldly, unknowingly. i began to walk and soon ended up in even busier part of the city. i walked fast passed the friendly: "jumbos", stares. i felt like i couldn't stop, i just had to keep walking. there are very few street signs in dar, so of course within 30 minutes i was lost. i kept walking without wanting to stop. as the minutes ticked away, i felt like i was breathing something that i had never breathed before, it was exciting and black and completely unknown. as i tried not to get hit by cars and dala-dalas coming from all directions with seemingly no sense, i walked and walked, trying hard to hide a huge grin on my face. i did eventually recognize the mosque that was near the hotel. it was difficult to miss it, muslim or not the prayer sang through the speakers five times a day lures you near.

Saturday, July 12, 2008

the beginning of time

i lost my journal. it is crazy how violating that feels. nobody stole from me, i just lost it. i spend the first day in dar es salaam looking for a notebook. i feel like i need to rewrite, recreate at least some of the event from the journal. so, here it is day 1. the travel in general was long and semi stressful. we couldn't get on the flight from new york to cairo. the quite and empty area of that specific terminal literally turned into the most hectic, crazy, busy part of the airport. the seats were oversolled and there was much hussling, angriness and confusion going on. we pretty much stayed on the side, but as the result didn't get on. instead we decided to call every friend we had in new york and see who was around. dear amila was the first one. we walked through beautiful, hot (i didn't know really what was coming ahead) brooklyn, walking around the street, having delicious morroccan food with delicious morrocan server and taking zoy for a walk. in the morning we met up with another friend cara, who lives in east village and had breakfast together. it was lovely to catch up with both of those beuatiful ladies. john stayed stressed making many calls trying to figure out if we need to switch our connecting flights or if we could just go with things. it was a huge relieve when we found we got on the flight next day and it was first class. see, one should never complaint, but feel lucky when nice things happen to them...

Saturday, July 5, 2008

dear diary, what is wrong with my family?

my father was in town, mr. zurab. as always he was here only for 48 hours and has created utmost chaos.

familiar story: few friends that got to spend some time with him thought he was absolutely fabulous. he is funny, he looks like mafia guy, he buys everyone countless shots, he has traveled around the world, he philosophizes about life... but also my mother and him can't be in the same room for longer than about 24 hours. my mother begins to nag, to bring up past, why he left her, she starts asking questions about his new wife, his travels... he in return wants her to leave him alone, life goes on as he says.

meanwhile each and every time i am about to have a nervous break down and even worse than that, i get really really sad.

you see when i left home at 15, my parents were happily married. in fact very happily married. i have amazing memories of my childhood. i remember countless parties at our house with many of their friends, mom and dad holding hands and exchanging what at that time seemed too many kisses and boob/ass grabbings, i remember bouquets of flowers and much laughter.

as an exchange student after 9 moths i was very happy to return back to all this. although united states was super interesting and different and amazingly plentiful, i was happy to return to my home, my friends, my city and my parents and rest of my family. well, of course everything went upside down. the soviet union broke up, the war broke out in georgia, my parents couldn't handle economic pressure of literally being left on the streets, so they got divorced. there was no country or no family to return to. to this day every time i leave even for short periods of time, i get so scared, like really scared and worried that i won't be able to return to things as i left them.

i love my dad so much. i can't think of another man in my life that i love as much i love him. i find him totally entertaining and wonderful, but i just don't know how to be around him anymore. i definitely don't know how to be around my divorced parents together.

at times like those, i wonder what if i never came to the u.s. on that stupid exchange program, what if we were still all together when the soviet collapsed and everyone was so freaked out, what if the soviet union stayed intact, how different everything would be.

i love my own family here, i love john and dagny and all my friends. in fact i love my life in salt lake, i really do. but i feel completely detached, de rooted from what is part of my soul.

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