KATHARINA JOSEPHINE

Published:  12:13 AM, 23 September 2019

She has beautiful eyes

She has beautiful eyes Katharina Josephine

We have heard it all before: German is a harsh language, German speakers sound angry all of the time and have no sense of humor. Certainly they could never be romantic. Well, believe it or not, German people fall in love just like everyone else!

Love is stronger than you could ever think. Wait for love to join hands with words and you have a combination that could kill. They say that if a writer falls in love with you, you become immortal.

You become an inspiration for them. It is you who moves them to put their thoughts on paper as beautifully strung words. This inspiration is the sole force that can drive them to write a love story, pen down a love ballad, or come up with a quote which would make you fall in love with them every time you read it.

Love is crazy. Lovers are crazier. The German language is not well-sung, but that doesn't stop the Germans from expressing their love and feelings. Have a German sweetheart? Use one of the following quotes to impress them and sweep them off their feet.

"Ich bin beidir, du seistauchnoch so ferne, Du bistmir nah! Die Sonnesinkt, bald leuchtenmir die Sterne. O wärst du da!" (I am with you, however far away you may be, you are next to me! The sun is setting; soon the stars will shine upon me. If only you were here!)

On an official duty, I had been to Germany from 13 August to 16 August 2019 and this was my 17th visit to Germany.
Katharina Josephineis a German lady who is close to my friend Frederick Johann. Her own version of love story who fell in love with a Tanzanian man named Sokoine Halisi:

I was born in Frankfurt, Germany in June 1980, raised by a single Mum who had come to Germany from France when she was only 19 years old. Incidentally I also moved away from home when I was just 19. I went traveling around Australia and then went to England to study Biology and Conservation at Bath Spa University. During that period, I spent two months in Zimbabwe to do research for my dissertation on human-animal conflict. It was at that time that I fell in love with Africa and promised myself I would be back soon.

After graduation I came to Tanzania as a volunteer for a London based Conservation NGO. I worked for a year close to the Selous Game Reserve where we focused on establishing migration corridors for large mammals. Then I moved to Mafia Island, south of the famous Zanzibar, still working for the same organization and now working in a Marine Protected Area doing fish censuses. It was there where I met my husband….

I met my husband Sokoine Halisi while working on Mafia Island. We lived in a small village inside the Marine Park and Sokoine worked as security for a dive centre. I met him on my first day on the island while strolling through the village and I was taken by him straight away.

It was his eyes that attracted me - I remember that as if it was yesterday. I spoke a little Swahili then and tried to keep him there on the road where I had bumped into him and some friends. But during the first weeks, Sokoine and the other Masai were reserved towards us, friendly and always smiling, but preferred to stay by themselves.

There was one day however when a friend of mine, a local, told me that Sokoine liked me. I, of course, was overwhelmed and could not believe it! Someone so beautiful and exotic, likes me?! That day, Sokoine and I talked properly, openly for the first time and things went from there. I fell in love with their culture and the way they lived their lives, close to nature and their animals.

We made plans to meet up when he was in Dar and then at some point I would visit him at his home to meet his family. I did so a couple of months after leaving Mafia. I did not want us to be apart, I went back to Mafia Island with Sokoine, where he had to continue working to support his family.

I was very lucky to get my old job back. We lived together like this on beautiful Mafia Island, for 5 months and then I had to go home to Germany for a while. In January 2015 I came back and it was then that Sokoine and I decided to move to his family's home in the Masai Steppe. I would support his family and we would live a traditional Masai life, living off the land and off our cattle ??

Today, though, all my friends and family love the way I live my life and all of those who have been to visit me here are so humbled by the kindness and generosity of the Masai that they support us in any way possible and often come back more than once. It was difficult at first finding my feet living with his family. I did not know the language and they only speak basic Swahili.

There are so many aspects and customs to the Masai culture and some of them were difficult to get used to. Like bowing your head when greeting older people when you have to guess everyone's age and never being able to be alone with your husband who, as a warrior, is not allowed to eat without other warriors.

I often felt lonely and misunderstood. I felt insecure in our relationship because of the strain adapting to Masai life was putting on my happiness. There were many tears, but I was determined to make it and told Sokoine so when he asked me if I will be happy here. He was amazing. He guided, encouraged and supported me.

Often he was stern with me, telling me to get a grip, but I realize now that I would not have made it, if it had not been for the way he guided me through it. What kept me sane was his lovely family. I fell in love with their culture and the way they lived their lives, close to nature and their animals. They were so welcoming and tolerant towards me.

I do remember though feeling awkward during my first few months in Tanzania. I am fine with just eating rice and vegetables every day. I am living each day the way I want to live it, doing what I feel like doing.

We have our own, so it makes everything a lot easier. Sometimes I miss my friends and family or miss sitting in a garden on a warm European summer's day drinking a cold glass of wine, but most days I am just happy and grateful to be where I am. I am living each day the way I want to live it, doing what I feel like doing.

I have no stress, no bills to pay, no job to get to at 8 in the morning. I wake up every day surrounded by nature, by the laughter of children and the noises of our animals. I am free to roam wherever I feel like going. I get on really well with my mother-in-law whose kindness and wisdom have made her one of my best friends.

I love that we share everything with his family and that our house is always open to his siblings, friends and neighbors. It was also hard to accept that my husband, being a warrior, would not play a big part in raising our son who is now two. The first few months after birth were some of the hardest of my life but as with the most difficult things in life, they also taught me some valuable lessons.

As with all cultures, the Masai also have certain taboos and behaviors that are strange to the average Westerner, but you get to know and accept them. Sometimes I wish I could talk more openly about my feelings, my dreams and desires to my husband's family but I know that they would not be able to understand me the way I would want them to, so I leave it.

I have been supporting my husband's family for over six years now - without a regular income, this has taken its toll on my finances. I had to come up with a way of earning an income without having to make investments.

So I decided to open our doors to an international audience, to invite people to come stay at our home and experience the Masai's fascinating culture. I created a Cultural Tourism website and also started writing a blog about my experiences of living with the Masai.

It was my son, who was born into his father's culture, who inspired me to do so. To preserve the beautiful wild land, we live in so that he may grow up true to his Masai roots and in harmony with nature.

I launched my Masai Education Fund, which has reached its deadline on 15th February, out of love for the Masai and fed by my passion for conservation. With it, I hope to protect both the Masai's culture and the environment they live in. It was my son, who was born into his father's culture, who inspired me to do so. To preserve the beautiful wild land, we live in so that he may grow up true to his Masai roots and in harmony with nature.

Usually German women are really well endowed with natural beauty. And Katharina Josephine has beautiful eyes to remember.

The writer is a senior citizen and writes on politics, political and human-centered figures, current and international affairs.

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