One of the things I had to get used to in Tanzania is the escorting phenomenon. But nowadays I like it many times. It gives me the chance to meet very different people.
Escorting means that adults, children, dogs and sometimes goats join us wherever we go.
When you ask for a direction, most of the time they will take you all the way. When you are in the middle of nowhere walking and exploring the area, suddenly two men are following you and stay with you until you reached your goal. You have no idea where they came from.
It can drive you nuts sometimes when you enjoy a perfect quiet place, when somebody with a noisy radio gives you a big smile and stays in your tail.
The craziest and most laughable situation occurred at Nkoma village. It was New Year and the town was crowded with people and children in their nicest clothes. We were searching for a boat to take us to Rubondo. Some kids started to follow us and in short time hundreds of children followed us through the streets and fields of Nkoma. They were excited, shouting and singing. It was one of those crazy, spontaneous moments life has to offer.
In general we see three major reasons for escorting:
- They are still fascinated to see a white person, especially children.
- They are unemployed and eager for something different to happen in their lives.
- They hope to catch a little money.
Most of the time their presence is very kind and helpful.