Thursday, August 20, 2009

A Story from Brooke

"My Tanzanian Friend, Thomas Ratism-
This statement sounds so cheesy, but friendship transcends age, language, and culture. I found this to be evident through my interactions with Thomas, our dear Tour Coordinator through JM Tours; who I began working with over a year and ½ ago! No question was too quirky and our group had some quirky questions!
Benedict and Brooke along with Thomas.

My first impression of him via email was that he was absolutely passionate about Ernest Hemingway…seems odd, but he educated me on the fact that Ernest Hemingway began his writing career at the Kansas City Star. Thomas even inquired as to whether the KC Star was still in print and he was thrilled when I brought him a copy. I have a treasured copy of The Green Hills of Africa that Thomas gave me as a parting gift. Funny how something as simple as a book could have such a nostalgic aura!

Once we finally met in person in Tanzania, he and I emailed extensively back and forth, to the point where I was hiking the base of Mt. Kilimanjaro and I received an email asking, “How is the hike?” He shared several meals with our group and nothing about it was awkward or unassuming. Our nightly meetings about the next day’s agenda were nothing like I had experienced…anything I asked or any alteration to our previous agenda was met with very little concern and certainly not a single bit of urgency. And I LOVED that. I operate so much on my own sense of urgency that it was absolutely delightful to not have that feeling present, or the pressure!

We have so much to learn from others and certainly above all else, we have so much to respect about each other. Thomas is a dear man that I will never forget.


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