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Caring for the bereaved: a cross-cultural comparison

As Arthur was dropping a colleague to the bus stop after she had come to do a sympathy visit with us, she told him that they really wanted to support and care for me. Was there anything else they could do?

Arthur tried to work out what she was offering: meals? help with childcare? emotional support?

It was none of those things. She was offering to visit again and to sit with me again. That’s how you care for a bereaved person in Tanzania.

So, here’s a comparison of how to care for a bereaved person in our experiences of Tanzania and Australia. There’s more to say about both cultures, but I think this covers the basics.


Categories: Tanzania Tanzanian culture Written by Tamie

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Tamie Davis

Tamie Davis is an Aussie living in Tanzania, writing at

11 replies

    1. I’m not sure I find anything much comforting at the moment. Being alone is awful, having people over is exhausting. But it’s nice to know that people want to care.

    1. I’m not sure it’s in my control. We accept the comfort of Tanzanians as a kindness to them. To be honest, I’m pretty isolated in my every day, so it’s not like I am inundated with company. We just rally when people tell us they are coming.

  1.  So what do you feel would be helpful for you, right now, as someone moving between both cultures? 

    Sent from my Samsung Galaxy smartphone.

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