Since this week is midterm break, I have been enjoying the luxury of a relatively free schedule, filling it with cycling, paddleboarding, sleeping, reading, eating, and some photography. I’ve been attempting to capture a glimpse of what life in Dar looks like with my camera, and finding it quite difficult. Aside from the fact that I don’t enjoy the attention holding a camera brings me, a single still photo allows for so many different perspectives. Even living here, I can look at the same view and come to two completely different conclusions. I came to this stark realization as I was riding my bicycle towards Bagamoyo on Tuesday morning and finally crested a large hill, which allowed me a clear view of the Indian Ocean on one side of the road, and of a large rock quarry speckled with small homes on the other. It would be easy for me to be so consumed with teaching, and just living, that I could forget that I am privileged to be living in what I consider a tropical paradise. It would be easy to look at all those tiny shacks and forget that their are beautiful people living in each of them. It would be easy to hit yet another speed bump sending piercing pain through my wrists and forget that those same speed bumps keep crazy dala dala drivers from going even faster than they already do. And if I were to forget all these things, it would be easy to start complaining and stop enjoying life here.
Then today, after greatly enjoying the beach this afternoon, I read a blog post on The Holy Experience that highlighted the same idea–that perspective changes everything:
Joy isn’t ever in a season, but in the way we see.
His Grace, His mercy, His love — saturating everything.
– Ann Voskamp
I realize that right now, I love living in Dar es Salaam, and have very little to complain about. But I must be on guard. I cannot let ungratefulness and complaining become normal. And so I choose to see joy. I choose to see gratefulness. I choose to see beauty.
(Here are just a few of the photos I took this week.)