A raft of posts and updates on Facebook leave me feeling like I miss home. Not just a little bit, but a lot. Perhaps I’m being a little nostalgic when I see pictures of St Pauls Carnival, the pre party and after parties and all my friends enjoying their weekend without me. Not that I wouldn’t be welcome, but 4000 miles is a long way to go for a pint of cider. Scroll down and I see another of my school friends has got married, to a beautiful woman on a beach in Spain. Then there was another mate who is selling his car, for £6000. Someone else is asking for a lift to Bristol for a concert they have tickets for. Another friend who has just left VEPK is now doing well for another NGO in Moshi and seems to be happy and enjoying himself. All these things serve to give me an idea of what each of these people are doing, how they got there and what it is that defines them. It’s the curse of social networking that we now have this constant feed of what each of us is doing, yet without it how much of what we know about people would be different?
This all makes me wonder what on earth it is I’m doing, and at what point do I have the right to turn around and just walk away from it all. Of course that in itself is basically impossible as I have people who rely on me, I have dogs that I and I alone love enough for them to survive and have good lives, and then there is the vast array of things that I do each day that are going on regardless and all of it leaves me wondering at what point do I become who I want to be? Am I going to be forever just building up and building up with no direction or goal as to where it might lead? I have a reasonable amount of success under my belt, but why has that not translated itself into the life I should feel happy living come thick or thin? The grass is pretty green here, but there is always another field…
I am still struggling to find ways to make this work for me without lots of outside help. Still playing poker the odd evenings in the vain attempt to get a few more dollars, but it’s really a waste of time. Further down the road there is a huge amount of work coming when the cameras and other stock get back from China, but that for some reason leaves a funny taste in my mouth when I think about it. It’s not that It’s unethical, far from it, it’s a good business opportunity to make some good cash and get my skills used in a positive way; but it isn’t what I want to do, and given how I am surrounded by people who I am teaching to follow dreams it seems like a cop out to invest in something that I don’t fundamentally believe in. Also, it has only netted me £80 so far for a couple of days work and a fair bit of running around. There is much more on the horizon, and I know the others are fired up for this, so I am looking forward to getting started for real and see whether it fits in. Even if this doesn’t work, or is a short lived project, there should be a couple of thousand dollars in it for me, so I’d be a fool not to get involved.
Then there is the love and be loved issue. As readers will know I have had a few girlfriends here over the last couple of years, and none of them have lasted. Not for want of trying though, but I think I have been out of practice in how to treat women, nice women that is, in that I have no idea what’s happening to me and when something nice does happen, I have no idea what to do with it. Just last weekend I was with someone and I got the feeling that she liked me, so what would any normal human being do? Well, that’s not what I did, I actively made my way away from her, because I was scared as to what might happen. There have been many like this, and many more that I do end up sleeping with that I have no interest in whatsoever. I seem to have become the master of picking up for a Friday night and have lost all powers of allusion when it comes to women I’m actually interested in. Especially white women. At the age of 32 and 17 years after I moved in with my first girlfriend this is bad form, and needs to be remedied. I want to take someone on a date, show them a good night, get enthralled by their conversation and find out that we love the same bands, seen the same movies, want the same things from life or that she has a weird infatuation for Patrick Stewart (that last one has actually happened before!). In any case, I need more than what has happened of late, and in return I think I need to put more effort into what it is that I am offering, because from where I am standing, I’m not a particularly good catch right now.
But what does that in itself actually mean? What is it that defines us? Christian Bale in Batman would have you believe it’s not who you are but what you do that defines you, I’m not 100% sure. What we do and what people see us do are often two different things. Whether to the opposite sex, our prospective customers and colleagues or just to each other our outward presence is important to us, and to understand what we project is to perhaps understand what it is we are looking at and how that affects the perception of ourselves and each other. Looking more closely to the details of my own life it depends on which day of the week as to what shape, colour and mood I see in front of me. I am a man of highs and lows in every sense of my being and I often see things in a broadened polarised way that is hard to understand. This is the reason why I can be triggered by such silly details as a guy who I met a few years back on a beach in Serbia is selling a car that I could never afford will set me off when if I recall I have turned down jobs that would have enabled me to be in that position myself. I have lived in Bristol for a good few years, going to all the festivals and street parties and have enjoyed them, when now I am getting involved in that scene over here, and have the opportunity to be right at the centre of it all as a DJ. I actually have nothing to worry about save where to get next month’s rent money from. Looking around however, I do see a lot of people who are projecting a false sense of being and who are hiding behind the veil of secrecy that your online persona affords. Here in Tanzania a lot of people are yet to fully understand the power of putting yourself out there as someone you are not, but are very quick to do it anyway. Amongst my friends and colleagues back home it is a very different story, littered with subtle yet obvious tales of woe and suffrage. Behind it all however we are the same, we see green grass over yonder and wish that we could bask in its glory; we steal glances at those more or less fortunate than ourselves and make our judgments accordingly. For me I need to keep myself to myself for a while, try to maintain life as it comes, and keep working hard to get…. well, whatever it is I’m aiming at. From an all-time high, to the ultimate low, I have been there, bought t-shirts and sent postcards, and it never gets any easier to see the road ahead.
For today, I’m rocking my newly cut-short and freshly deep-cleaned dreads, clean and pressed white t-shirt and an array of Tanzanian bracelets and adornments that all serve to project who I want people to see me as, and I wear a whole-hearted sense that I am someone individual, I have something that nobody else has right now, and I’m gonna flaunt it, show it off, and be all that I can be yet again until it’s time to go home tomorrow and face the village again. Work continues, life continues, and despite it all my name remains the same, I am Craig, hear me roar, or if you can’t do that, then catch me every Friday at Pamoja Café in Moshi from 7pm- midnight.