After two-and-a-half months of literally being the only white girl in the village, for the past few days I've had a mate. A dear friend of ours living in London put us in touch - Sophie has been travelling through Africa for the past few weeks, stopping in at places where she has contacts, which is what brought her to us. And the best news - she's a Kiwi!
Despite being in the middle of mad hectic work week (read: sorry for intermittent posts, I've forgotten what it's like to be swamped), Sophie and I have managed to adventure around Babati a decent amount. With MH out of town for work, we've been walking around the village, doing errands, drinking sodas and avoiding awkward male advances. But the best part for me has been noticing the qualities I love about New Zealanders, because of the stark cultural contrast.
Instantly when Sophie arrived, I felt safe. There is something about a Kiwi accent that just puts you at ease when you're in unfamiliar territory. I only wish we had a Fush and Chup shop, so I could get her to suggest out loud that we go there.
There's no electricity tonight? No problem, let's whack out the candles.
The internet is so slow it takes all day to book an online flight? No worries, I could use the time to read a book anyway.
I have to sleep surrounded by yelping dogs and shouting locals? I like the feeling of earplugs, so that works out fine.
No drama. It's bliss.
Compare that to a woman whose nationality shall remain nameless, who was passing through Babati and came into the stationery shop we were using this morning. She literally shouted at the poor Tanzanian girl behind the counter because the printer wasn't working fast enough. What kind of a place was this, and why on earth didn't the staff speak English,she asked. If I was less laid back, I would have told her off for being so rude.
What qualities, good or bad, do you think sets us apart as New Zealanders?