It took us about two minutes to walk the wending inner streets of Mikocheni and arrive at the primary school. The room was nicely signposted, the government officials as warm and polite as one is likely to get. I got my picture taken after the nice lady told me to sit up straight and then adjusted my bra strap so it wouldn't show. Decorum. I asked the nice registration man if he was okay with me taking pictures too. He was nervous but he consented. People are kind to you when you tell them that it's your first time.
The classroom was peaceful and quiet, a civic cathedral where we all sat on the same narrow wooden pews that children would fidget on tomorrow. Someone had left a lesson on the greenboard in beautiful cursive. Kwa. Kwe. Kwi. Kwo. Kwu. It only took me ten minutes and a few questions to get inducted into the Tanzanian diocese of the Church of Electoral Democracy.
I was born in Mwanza City, Bugando Hospital, same as my four siblings. I will vote in Mikocheni, Kawe, Kinondoni- same parliamentary constituency as my three siblings and two parents*. I was handed yet another photo ID encased in hard plastic. Like so many of the best moments in life, it was wonderfully mundane.
Walking back home, the colors seemed brighter and the crows less annoying. This afternoon, I shall cook and dine with my favorite political operative and my oh-god-i-have-to-deal-with-government-hand-holder-in-chief to celebrate. While buying some brew, I asked my Duka Guy if he'd registered. He laughed and said he'd done that long ago. Everyone around me seems to have voted before, and I feel a bit silly being so terribly excited about this.
I can't wait. Have a blessed Sunday.
*That is where the similarities end. We have far too much fun twitting each other over political choices to sing from the same hymn sheet.