An ode to my best and wise friend in Tanzania
When I finish a phonecall with Rama, we useually end with a time-consuming goodbye ritual, which I complete with joy out of respect for him. I see it as a Tanzanian tradition, but to my surprise I catch Rama more then once not even saying goodbye to people after ending a phonecall. So it occurs to my mind lately, it is very possible he thinks also it is a dutch ritual to perform.
Most of the time the ritual is like this:
R: Lala salama (goodnight) Alina
A: Lala salama pia (goodnight to you too) Rama
R: Asante (thanks) Alina
A: Asante pia (jij ook bedankt) Rama
R: Don’t think too much any longer okay?
A: I will try Rama, Thank you.
R: Bye, byebye, byeeeee, bye Alina, bye
A: Bye, byeeee Rama, take care, bye, byebye. Oh don’t forget to call D tomorrow okay?
R: I can do that. Bye
And so on……Sometimes when we allready finished the ritual, something spontaneously comes up. Yesterday it went like this:
R: Njozi njema (sweet dreams)
A: Njozi Njema……… ehh Rama do you ever have nice dreams?
R: Yes Alina sometimes I have, very nice dreams. But when I have malaria ohh then they are very bad.
A: I never have nice dreams. I wonder therefore about the dreams of other people.
R: Yes Alina I think it will get better when you say sorry to your father.
Immediatly I wake up and I have to laugh. Ramaaa? I tell you I don’t have nice dreams and then you say I have to say sorry to my father, who allready died years ago. Crazy man.
R: I remember you told me you didn’t like your father very much Alina.
A: Yes I told you that. I think it was about a year ago. I know you stood up for him in a way and you needed to tell me that the task isn’t easy for fathers. Every day they need to bring food at home, go to the work and be strong. I think you recognized your own daily struggle in him, but why you connect the lack of nice dreams with my father?
R: You put something in your heart there Alina. You closed to him. Say sorry to him for doing that. Then all will be well again and nice dreams will come to you.
I think about the heart meditation I did many times with clients. In pairs they ask each other what hurt they carry in their heart and who hurt them. Then they are allowed to express their pain to that person until everything is said and felt. After making some steps, I ask them to imagine this person says sorry to them for the hurt they caused. Then I ask them to ask that person to forgive them also because the hurt made them close their heart for them. It is a very profound meditation for healing the heart. And while Rama talks to me with that warm, connected voice, I know he is right. My father is still not loved enough by me. And yes it could very well be, this blocks nice dreams too J. Why not?
A: Forgiveness is a strong thing in Christianity Rama. But I don’t like to say sorry if I don’t mean it sincerely like it happens a lot in church. It is not a strategy to me to You confess your sins, the priest gives you absolution and of you go.
R: Not like that Alina.
A: I want to say sorry and feel it sincerely. Then it is a healing energy Rama.
Then Rama tells me this lovely metaphore.
R: It is like the tree Alina. The tree is grounded in the Earth and it can be very muddy when it rains. In the top beautiful flowers are growing. The flowers may say it is very dirty down there and they are not happy with the mud all over the roots of the tree. But the flowers forget the tree takes food from the muddy Earth to make them flower.
A: I am quiet Rama. Thank you so much. This is so nice.
Lala salama Rama. Paka kesho (tot morgen).
R: Lala salama Alina