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Time to Say Goodbye: Final Chronicles of my Tanzania Secondment

Friday, 28 July 2017
Peal Mathonsi
Time to Say Goodbye: Final Chronicles of my Tanzania Secondment

"It is almost time to return to South Africa. "

It is almost time to return to South Africa. My secondment in the Dar es Salaam office is coming to an end and to say that I am sad to be leaving a wonderful country with people I have grown fond of would be an understatement.

What started off as a great career move rapidly became a personal journey that allowed me to get to know myself better, realign my career goals in order to suit who I really am and work hard at getting better at it and ultimately become the best. There have been lessons drawn from this experience from both a career and personal perspective.

Travels

Some photos taken at Villa Nyangumi:

In my previous blog post, I mentioned that I would be sharing chronicles of my trip to Zanzibar which I was due to take with my sister in early July. Unfortunately, due to an illness in the family, I had to travel back to South Africa instead and our travel plans had to be cancelled. I did, however, get the wonderful opportunity to travel to Zanzibar for the day when a family friend; Tim came to Dar es Salaam on business and invited me on a Sunday afternoon adventure exploring the island. The weekend before that, my friends from the office; Bertha, Noren and Jackie-one of our interns- decided to visit a hidden gem situated in the South of Dar es Salaam called Villa Nyangumi for the day.


Zanzibar in a Day:

This visit sealed the deal for me when it came to my Tanzanian adventure. We travelled by ferry to Stone Town and then did a 40-minute drive to a beautiful village called Nungwi for lunch. We then headed back to Stone Town for a historical tour of the city and took a 20-minute night time flight back to Dar es Salaam that same evening. Photos do not do the beauty of Zanzibar justice; it is a breathtakingly beautiful island full of history, rich culture and has this charming ability of instilling a sense of calm to any person who visits it. A therapeutic visit is highly recommended!

Some photos of our Zanzibar visit:

With Tim on the hour long ferry ride to Zanzibar, we rode “business class” LOL

Our beautiful ferry; “Lady of Zanzibar”

The Hideaway of Nungwi Resort in Nungwi village is the epitome paradise! Gorgeous place with very hospitable staff! It’ll take your breath away; I hope to get married there one day!

Beautiful night time shot of the Stone Town harbour before heading to the airport

One of my favourite Tanzanian dishes called Swahili pilau.

Photo with Tim outside Mercury House, the childhood home that Freddie Mercury of legendary British rock band Queen grew up in

Stone Town is a predominantly Islamic society so it is considered respectful for women to cover up, hence the red scarf over my bare shoulders. Seen behind me is Sultan’s Palace; now a museum about the Zanzibari royal family and history.


Career Lessons

Career wise; I have acquired a wealth of lessons from everyone I worked and came into contact with. I also discovered that my ‘calling’ lies in the commercial litigation practice as opposed to corporate transactional legal work which is also very interesting but not as suited to my personality as litigation is. The best part about this secondment is that I will now know what I am talking about in the event that I may for example, be expected to litigate in a corporate transactional matter. I look forward to going back home to grow in that sphere using the invaluable lessons I have acquired in the months spent in the Dar office.

I feel like I am leaving a part of me behind because the people I work with here have become my family. They welcomed me with open arms and never made me feel like an outsider. I will carry them in my heart and have promised to visit again.


My crazy NRF TZ family on one of our occasional boardroom “events”!

My surprise farewell lunch at the office as captured on my Instagram stories


Personal Lessons

Being on secondment has somewhat translated itself into a spiritual journey that allowed me to define who I am and where I am headed both from a personal and professional perspective.

I have also discovered that I am in love with the African continent and this experience was just the beginning of many African-inspired trips to come! I hope to travel to Kenya, Senegal, Nigeria, Ghana and perhaps the Victoria Falls in Zambia very soon.

The love and experiences shared in this country has been nothing short of amazing. A special thank you to my varsity friend-turned-sister Flora, her parents; Mama Hilda & Papa Joe Obeto and older sister Mary who have made my time away from home feel like nothing because I had a family and home right here in Dar es Salaam. I am eternally grateful for your warmth and love.


With Flora at Akemi Restaurant, Tanzania’s first and only revolving restaurant

With my TZ older sister, Mary Obeto


Conclusion

There is a Swahili saying popularly written on the Tanzanian khanga which says; Ingawa tumeachana, yaliobaki ni mazoea which, loosely translated, means that “even though we have separated, our past experience lives on”. That is exactly how I feel about my time in Dar, beautiful memories were shared, lifelong friendships and relationships were made and I would not trade this experience for anything either than perhaps another six months to relive this wonderful experience once again!? I am truly grateful for the experience that was afforded to me at such an early stage of my career with Norton Rose Fulbright. I look forward to and hope for many more opportunities similar to these in the future!

Asante sana Tanzania, Mungu ibariki Tanzania. Amani [Peace], Upendo [Love], na Umoja [Unity]!



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