Christmas in Tanganyika: A Memoir by Jonathan Russin

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By Jonathan Russin

CHRISTMAS IN TANGANYIKA is Jonathan Russin’s memoir approximately his stories in 1961 whilst he took a yr off from legislation institution to participate in a one-year project as a examine assistant to the Dean of the legislation school on the new collage of East Africa.

During the Christmas/New yr recess, Russin volunteered with the house Ministry to aid with a software to assist refugees from the Hutu-Tutsi clash in Ruanda—which turned Rwanda in 1964 upon gaining independence.

CHRISTMAS IN TANGANYIKA is the account he wrote upon getting back from the refugee camp, whereas the tale used to be nonetheless clean in his brain. the tale is as clean this day because it used to be greater than fifty years in the past. it's a tale of achieving out to assist others; it's a tale of perseverance; it's a tale of wish.

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It would have worn hornrim glasses and bestowed smiles on only the most intelligent and outcast students. ” It would, I hoped, convince my students that I was some sort of authority figure, and it would also, I hoped even more, convince me. The thought of teaching freshman composition made me nauseated. —when the hour and ten minutes were up. It had never occurred to me that they might be human. In that fall of 2001 I was an MFA student entering my first semester of teaching. One week earlier the country had changed permanently.

We played tourist and partied on and off Bourbon Street. In a rundown gift shop we stumbled into, we discovered a back room full of cheap blouses and hippie skirts. I bought this batik tie-dye wrap skirt for ten dollars. The first time I wore the skirt was a few weeks later. I was in New York for the Republican National Convention protests, documenting a march I had helped organize. In my downtime I was exploring the city, and at dusk I wound up walking alone through Central Park. There I encountered a group of pagans at the edge of the park.

I got home and the jewels arrived on schedule. I immediately got them appraised. They were worth $2,500, not $20,000. And then my mom’s credit card was charged $16,100. When I called the credit card company, they said to look at the fine print. They would only cover misrepresentation within a one hundred mile radius of one’s billing address, never mind another hemisphere. At that point, I had to admit to my mom that I’d been scammed. All my pride in being able to survive anywhere, all the years traveling in Latin America, and all the spiritual highs of my semienlightened self in India came crashing down into a harsh reality.

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