Just before leaving, I was looking out the window at the Indian Ocean and thinking about the trip—about the beginning.

I loved travelling with my daughter. The makeup came off, and the clothes were simple and quite smelly. We began to laugh at the most bizarre things, and cried at injustice—or maybe just from pure exhaustion. That was when the walls came down—when utter exhaustion revealed everything and all flaws were shown. They were many, but you could see the beauty in them, too.

The beauty in the fact that we were all just human.

I knew I would miss the dirt roads, the ugali, and seeing women carrying water and food, although I hoped that would not always be necessary. I would miss the colour and the noise, the hand shaking and the laughter of the people. I would miss the hot sun and chilly nights, the crowds of people, and the children who followed you everywhere. I would miss the women yelling and dancing and the food they cooked. I would miss seeing the water flow and working with my hands in the dirt. I would miss Abu, Yasinta, and Richard—and especially Moshi.

After this trip, I’m not so sure I’ve changed that much. I was definitely exposed to a lot of new and incredible things, like girls my age cradling their babies or toddlers begging. It made me reflect on my life and if I’m really valuing the right things. New experiences may not change you drastically or right away, but I think that over time this trip will teach me something valuable. I just don’t know what yet.
I’ve learnt how to deal with high pressure situations and how to communicate without knowing the language. I don’t think that I could’ve been any happier going on this adventure with anyone else but my mom. She made it fun and exciting and whenever I got overwhelmed, she would comfort me, and the best part is that she’s always there to give me a big hug.
I miss my home and all the things I’m used to. I miss my dad and his yummy breakfasts and funny jokes. In a week, I’ll probably miss Tanzania and will want to go back, but right now, I don’t think that I can’t handle any more new experiences.

Our time in Tanzania showed us its harshness, and its flaws, but between the cracks in the dry earth, we saw its intense beauty. We were all connected, and even though Tanzania felt like a world away, what we do on our side of the planet affects the people here, so I left the country intent on treading more lightly for the people of Cheku.