This is Africa -TIA Tales – Introduction
Living in Africa definitely forces you to have a laid back attitude, and a sense of humour. As an ex-pat there are things that strike us, which someone from here who has never been anywhere else may not even notice; they leap out against our Western methods, manners, or mentality. We have a saying (those of you who’ve seen Blood Diamond may recognize it, but it existed way before the film), it is simply ‘TIA’ (This is Africa) and is usually accompanied by a shrug. It is used to explain that anything can happen; that we expect it all to be upsidedown; we must just get on with it. That’s why this category section of my blog is called TIA Tales.
Those of us living here have a tendency to group together and share these experiences. Some can be incredibly funny or disgusting, some horribly irreverent (for those readers not from here please don’t be upset by these, it’s a sort of survival skill you develop here) and others heart-breakingly sad. Many stories involve death, which is odd as it is perhaps what scares us all the most, but by sharing the stories it is as though people are almost reveling in their own survival whilst enjoying the threat this continent poses – it makes us live a little more somehow.
Anyway, whenever visitors arrive we always find ourselves telling these incredible tales of insects, wild animals, diseases, corruption, car accidents and awful social services. We love the shock on their faces. I must add that whilst it all may sound a little extreme, and is not at all exaggerated, we also live so well and so happily here. There is sunshine and beauty everywhere, a little money affords a great deal, we are free to explore and travel and things are generally quite simple. I love Africa, I have loved all the countries I have visited and in no way do I want these stories ever to be seen as a negative take on the continent that has become my home… But they are just too good not to share!