I’m moving to Tanzania in September. I’ve said it out loud more than a few times now. To my family on a rainy morning a few minutes after I got the news. To friends over brunch in a crowded restaurant. To an acquaintance I ran into on the street last week. To myself. It still doesn’t quite feel real.
In mid-September, I will be moving 15,000 kilometres away from my home(s) in Vancouver and Edmonton to work with the Women’s Legal Aid Centre in Dar es Salaam, Tanzania. It’s something I’ve wanted to do for as long as I can remember but was always afraid to pursue. It will mean a series of hard goodbyes – to my family and friends and the life I’ve built in Vancouver.
I’ve always been fearful of change and uncertainty, and I don’t think I surprised anyone more than myself when I announced that I was quitting my job and moving to Tanzania.
Earlier this year, when my grandfather lay in a hospital bed dying, in and out of clarity, he took me aside and told me that he had lived a full life and that he had no regrets and that everything had unfolded for him exactly as it was supposed to. I think often about the beauty in those words, and about how much more powerful they are than the sadness of his death.
I gathered his words around me and pulled them close when I made the decision to take the job.
Hafiz, the Iranian poet, puts it this way: fear is the cheapest room in the house. / I would like to see you living / In better conditions.
So, the hard part is (mostly) done and I am left with the next month to pack up and sell my belongings and get ready to move half way around the world.