By Andrew Mahiga, Dar Es Salaam.
For a person that tends to overthink a lot of things and worry a lot more than I should, It is quite difficult for me to recall a moment in my life when I felt amazing and that everything would be alright – at least not a long-lasting moment.
But I can vividly recall two major moments in my life when for that day (or even week) I felt a great level of achievement and optimism that carried me for the rest of the year and perhaps to where I am today.
My first moment was graduating university and getting my Bachelor’s degree in International Studies from The City College of New York (2009).
It was a combination of my family being there all the way from Tanzania to share the moment with me and also a realization that no matter what happens next in life, nobody can take my knowledge from me, nobody can take that credential away from me. I was ready to take on the world.
Even though after graduating from university I kept the same job I had as a student and still interned at the same companies I was interning while studying, I felt more competent, secure and even assertive in my thinking and actions.
My second moment was around the time I returned to Tanzania for good in 2010. Again, my decision to return home came with a lot of anxiety and uncertainty.
After being away from home for over 6 years I did not know what to expect and I did not know how I would be received back home.
I returned home in November 2010 – about a month before a lot of my old friends were returning home for the Christmas holidays.
For one reason or another, a lot of my peers (and even family) thought I was also returning home just for vacation but would be leaving soon. It took some convincing to make them realize that I was home for good. I think it also took me some convincing myself as well. I figured that December was not a good time to start looking for employment because a lot of people were not at work or were not focused enough at the end of the year to begin orientating and training a new employee.
I decided to push my job-hunting to January of the next year. I also wanted to give myself some time to get to meet and network with people and get a feel for the job environment in Tanzania.
Not deciding to immediately look for a job was one of the best decisions I could have made because somebody looked for me. Somebody needed my services.
I ended up getting hired by a new media monitoring company in Tanzania that not only allowed me to introduce a revolutionary technology to Tanzania but also exposed me to the decision-makers in the country and in turn allowed me to introduce myself and leave my mark on them when we crossed paths again in the future.
And cross paths we did and are still doing to this day.
– Andrew Mahiga – Managing Director at Maanisha Limited and Creative Director at Media Refinery (Tanzania).