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My Uncle from Tanzania

Discussion in 'Habari na Hoja mchanganyiko' started by Easymutant, Jul 28, 2011.

  1. Easymutant

    Easymutant JF-Expert Member

    Jul 28, 2011
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    My Uncle Christopher is a good man, the kind of man you would struggle to find these days anywhere in the world. He has good heart. And I don’t just think that he has good heart: I know for a fact. After travelling in different parts of this world, I have come to understand that not only is he a good man, but he is also a very complicated man. It took me years to understand him, but finally I do understand him. I came to understand him when he became sick – when he couldn’t even recognize me, and he couldn’t tell me anything useful anymore. I called someone last week to see if they could connect me with my uncle. I wanted to tell him just one sentence: one sentence that means a lot to me, one sentence to which I don’t know what his reaction would be. “I understand you now.” That’s all.
    When I was young I always found myself in trouble with my parents. I don’t know if I was a troublemaker, but one thing I know is that I demanded freedom all of the time – especially freedom to speak my mind, which doesn’t go over well with most African parents. Kids do what they are told to do; if you behave differently, you will find yourself in a war zone. My uncle was always there for me during this time. I left my parents house and went to live with him when I was really young. I remember on my first day of secondary school in Dar es Salaam, Tanzania, my uncle escorted me to the bus stand. I still remember that day, and I think I will remember that day my whole life.
    That was the time when my uncle had just come back from London. My uncle is a very educated man. He has a Master’s degree in economics from the London School of Economics. For those who know what I’m talking about, the London School of Economics is no place to joke. He was one of the very first Tanzanians to hold a Master’s degree from a prestigious university like that. He knew and breathed economics. If you woke him up at 2:00 am and asked him any question related to the economy, you would be sorry that you had started a lecture that would never end.
    The misunderstanding started with his family. He came back from London with his bag and his certificates and a radio. I used to love that radio – I still remember that silver radio with a tape player. It was a good old radio. The whole family thought he was crazy. Why he didn’t come back with a car? Or a refrigerator, a big television set, or something like that? Everyone came back with those things. What happened to him? I don’t know how he responded to all those questions. I was young, and I didn’t ask him that. But whenever I visited other relatives, I used to hear them discussing this issue all the time. One time I decided to ask him, “Why didn’t you come back with a car from London? My mom came back from the U.K. with a car, so why didn’t you?” He looked at me, smiled, and said politely, “I didn’t have money to buy a car.” I wasn’t satisfied with that answer, but for some reason I didn’t ask that question again. But people were judging him; they didn’t understand him at all. I try to imagine myself in his shoes, and I don’t know how I could have handled that pressure.
    He accepted different jobs, and it’s fair to say that he was in demand. The biggest problem was keeping these jobs. My uncle always wanted to live with honesty and dignity. He wanted to change the organizations he worked for; he wanted them to keep pace with the modern world. But he didn’t know that what he saw was not what others saw. They were on two different pages. He wanted to help his country, but couldn’t understand why his country didn’t understand him. That was the issue. There are two things that can happen when you go back to African countries after living in Europe or America for years: either you adjust and start living like everyone else, or you don’t and you get frustrated. I have seen people who became alcoholics – people with good education who could push Africa to reach its potential. Most of the time my uncle would get frustrated with these jobs and decide to quit. One time he told me, “They sent me to Europe to get an education, and after getting that education and coming back, they don’t want me to use my education. They see me as a threat instead of someone they can work with. They don’t want to change at all.”
    I used to see my uncle writing every day early in the morning. I didn’t know what he was writing, and I didn’t ask. And it seemed like no one else in the house cared. He was always writing and writing. It seemed like he was writing and smoking too much. He started teaching me economics. One time he showed me a layout of the structure of the Tanzanian economy and what needed to be changed. It was impressive. No matter how hard he was trying to explain it to me, I didn’t understand a thing. He told me, “I like to teach and talk to you, not because you understand everything, but because you listen.” My uncle became my friend. He would take me to a bar and tell me stories while he had drinks. It was at this point that I realized that I was closer to him than his own kids. He would tell me about his writings, and that some of the newspapers in Tanzania used his writings without even paying him. He wanted people to read, and he didn’t care if they paid him or not. Sometimes I would see all these cars parked in front of our house, so one time I asked, “Who are these people?” He replied, “They are lazy journalists who have come to ask for help with writings.” I didn’t understand or bother about it at that time.
    He lived a simple life, not working for anyone most of the time. No one understood, and he was judged by everyone. Deep down I knew he was my good friend. He understood when I made mistakes, and it seemed like he was the only one who didn’t give up on me. He didn’t yell at me. We had a very serious conversation before I came to the United States, and he told me, “I want you to travel. I want you to see the world. Be yourself and don’t worry about other people. The most important thing in your life is to continue learning and improve in everything you do.”
    The last time I saw my uncle, I cried. Seriously, I cried. He was struggling with some kind of brain disease, but he managed to remember me. But his family had told me that he was acting crazy at times. He was taking medicine, and they said he was improving. I didn’t see him when he was in a bad condition, but I was very sad. We hugged, and I helped him to sit down. He asked me how I was doing, and I said fine. We laughed. He had lost a lot of weight. We didn’t talk much, since he was falling asleep. I remember when I left that house that day, I was sad for at least a few days. I wanted to see my old uncle: a writer in good shape, a writer with lots of ideas.
    My uncle is one of those people for whom the country didn’t provide a way to continue what he had started. The country had no plan for people like him. I can understand that it was tough for people who had studied and lived in Europe for years to adjust to being back in a poor country. It was tough for my uncle. He was judged based on his material wealth more than his education. It seems like his education wasn’t enough for a lot of people. They wanted him to have cars, big houses, etc. – but he wasn’t that kind of person. He was a simple person who wanted to live a simple life. He was frustrated with his country and his people. I will go to visit my uncle if I get a chance to go home this year. One big mission that I have is to go through his writings. I now want to see what he was writing. I know for sure there is something in there, something that will amaze me. But I understand him now, and I want him to know that. I want to tell him that.
  2. Lole Gwakisa

    Lole Gwakisa JF-Expert Member

    Jul 28, 2011
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    Easymutant, pole sana.
    Its a sad story about your uncle, its not easy to change corruption single handedly, in actual fact it is outright dangerous.
    I have lived through such an experience as your uncle' ,howver I thank the Amighty up there, I have lived long enough to tell the tale.
  3. AshaDii

    AshaDii Platinum Member

    Jul 28, 2011
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    I love your story... it tells so much about the reality of life in our small ever developing country.... about the way society and its majority are hypocrites (wakitegemea viongozi wao wawe pure - hali wao katika individual level nao ni rotten...); Of the way we have very potential people who could be used in a load of sectors/projects which could be established for the betterment of the society...; Of the way a person who knows better at keeps it cool is underrated/underestimated just because s/he has nothing to show off; Of the fact that we are so advanced in the chronic problems that for any person to really bring change in the society... s/he has to adapt and be part of the system s/he despises... and then start from within... OR else would end up like your uncle... which thou sad.... really really useless....
  4. LoyalTzCitizen

    LoyalTzCitizen JF-Expert Member

    Jul 28, 2011
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    What an intriguing and also sad story! There are loads of people like your uncle who are in need of this country but denied by the system itself. The system polarized the loyal and passionate citizens like your uncle against the clan of corrupted network which is unfortunately ruling this country. As a result of this we are all in a deep shite and are now heading to the dead end rather than a feel good state.
  5. Majoja

    Majoja JF-Expert Member

    Jul 28, 2011
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    Easy mutant, thats a sad story to tell.
    Please PM me and I will tell u a similar story,happened over 20 yrs ago and written in a book.If you are in the US it will be available on Amazon.
  6. m

    mbongopopo JF-Expert Member

    Jul 28, 2011
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    Bravo mkuu

    Sikutaka habari yako iishe

    Mimi ni mmoja ya wale nikisoma first few lines either naendela hadi mwisho au na achana nayo

    Yako nimeisoma yote

    Nakutakia kila la kheri haswa Mungu awe nanyi mkionana akukumbuke na ufurahie.

    ukizipata tumia kujiendeleza wewe na familia yenu yote
  7. TANMO

    TANMO JF-Expert Member

    Jul 29, 2011
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    in our society intelligence is measured by how sharp you bend the law and not how good you are in obeying them.. We should therefore not give up, and lets keep daring and daring to change the syestem!
  8. Mentor

    Mentor JF-Expert Member

    Jul 29, 2011
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    I can see you inherited the writing skills from your uncle..please use it for good!
  9. TinyMonster

    TinyMonster JF-Expert Member

    Jul 29, 2011
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    Dah touchy.. machozi yamenilenga aise.

    Uncle wako anawakilisha kundi kubwa la wasomi ambao wanapoteza muda wao mwingi vyuoni kuitafuta elimu ili mwisho wa siku waisaidie nchi yao lakini wakirudi wanakutana na mambumbu walionunua madaraka na wengine kugawiwa vyeo ambao kwao matatizo ya kila mwananchi wanayageuza mtaji. Wattu kama uncle wako wanaumia sana kwa sababu wanaelewa kinachoendelea na mara nyingi wanapojaribu kuibadilisha system ya nchi wanaishia kuwa wahanga wa kufukuzwa kazi au hata kuuziwa kesi.

    Pole sana mwana.
  10. Lole Gwakisa

    Lole Gwakisa JF-Expert Member

    Jul 29, 2011
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    Yeah Mentor, I am a practical sciences majoring chap, but I enjoy writting.
    Only thing is , time to sit down and write.This story by Easymutant is quite good script, and more to it, its true.
    I have written a book(published in the US), and I am now in the process of writting another semi-fictional account.