Sante’s dad, Dr Nyambo, is a natural storyteller. She gets that from him. We discovered this on our recent production trip to Tanzania with Sante, where her mom, dad and older brother shared their lives with us so generously. Taking us on a tour of places of significance to their family, the Nyambos drove co-producer Brook and me from Dar Es Salaam to Msolwa to Moshi and back over the two weeks we visited.
“I remember every tree in the village,” Sante’s dad, a professor at Muhimbili University College of Health Sciences in Dar Es Salaam, told us when we visited his hometown of Kirua Vunjo, located in the shadow of Africa’s tallest mountain, Kilimanjaro. My ears perked up at his statement. I was intrigued by this idea that his definition of home was tied to trees. He described them with awe, his eyes twinkling with memories. One tree in particular inspired respect and a sense of myth among the kids he grew up with, because it was rumored to be very old, and though it flowered often, it had no offspring and was the only tree of its kind in the village. This Science– and Cell-published scientist, whose life’s journey has spanned continents and settled him with his family in the city of Dar Es Salaam, calls a quaint little village home and takes comfort in the village’s familiar trees.
His stories led me to imagine my own dad in Accra, a world-traveled city dweller himself now, reminiscing wistfully about trees, rare ponds and other elements of his childhood landscape of arid rural northern Ghana. How do I define home, Dr Nyambo’s stories made me wonder? How will Sante define home in two years when her time at MIT is done? In ten? One Day I Too Go Fly plans to be around for an answer to at least the second of these questions.
-Arthur Musah / Boston, USA / September 7, 2013