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Farewell tour

As we prep for our big move, we have just returned from a 10 day trip around Tanzania. We called it our ‘farewell tour’. Though we will have farewells in Dar, our life in Tanzania has been broader than that and we needed to say goodbye to people and places beyond Dar Es Salaam. So, we travelled Dar-Morogoro-Iringa-Songea-Iringa-Dodoma-Mikumi-Dar. It was a lot of driving! We saw an eclectic bunch of people: TAFES staff and Associates, family friends, old language tutors, people from our time at St John’s University of Tanzania, even my old friends from the Dodoma markets! It was relationally intense and rich.

The boys don’t remember many of these people and places. Elliot was 3 when we left Dodoma, Callum was not born yet. But they’ve heard stories of these people and places who made us and shaped our family, and so it felt important to go as a family to share in farewelling these together. We wanted the boys to have memories of those places even if not from when we lived there. So we re-created the photo from 2 weeks after we arrived in Tanzania, on the same corner on one of Dodoma’s main streets, this time with all of us.

It wasn’t just about us having the chance to say goodbye; it was also about honouring others. Us coming to them says a lot; it’s a ministry of presence and of taking the initiative to be in their space. Some of that was hard for the boys: sleeping in unfamiliar places, eating food prepared by others, working to others’ schedules. But it gave them the chance to be loved by others, even if the way that love was expressed was sometimes uncomfortable for them.

We brought along our transition journals (more on this coming up), but didn’t open them because the boys came up with their own way of taking in and processing the trip. At Neema Crafts in Iringa, we bought each of them a kitenge-covered exercise book, without any particular purpose, just as something to have. However, they took these as sketch books for the trip, drawing and recording the landscape, things they saw and events in which we participated. I was so proud of how they took it upon themselves to record and process the 10 days, and they intend to continue using these travel journals, especially over the plane trip to Australia.

We have more farewells coming up in Dar. There are farewells at the boys’ school, a TAFES farewell, and we will host one as well, mainly for school families and some expat friends. Just as we went to Mikumi for one last safari, we will visit some favourite places in Dar as well.

Categories: Cross-cultural parenting Written by Tamie

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Tamie Davis

Tamie Davis is an Aussie living in Tanzania, writing at

1 reply

  1. Hi Tamie, so good to hear and read the wisdom of those who’ve gone before and passed down practical ways to navigate these tough tough times. much love, thoughts and prayers, S

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