TANZANIA, EAST AFRICA, is better than America for many reasons, one of which is that you can pick your nose anywhere, any time. No one will think any less of you, or you of them. It is as natural as it should be. At first it's unsettling when someone you're talking to nonchalantly picks his or her nose. But slowly, you realize that you can too, and no one cares.

Another reason Tanzania is better than America is that you can throw your trash on the ground. No one cares about that either. Actually, there's no other place to put it. Try it. It feels good.

And another thing: Vasectomies are dirt cheap. They cost about $10. I didn't get one, but if I did, that's where I'd go. Tubal ligations are only $5. During "Vasectomy Week," they run specials on both.

Also, in Tanzania a quarter pound of marijuana costs less than a bottle of beer. The funniest part about this is when a Japanese volunteer comes to a Peace Corps party and thinks he's eating plain brownies. He's in for a big surprise.

But then, even a bottle of beer doesn't cost that much compared to America. And the best meal ever is nyama choma and beer. Nyama choma are chunks of tough, spiced meat. Nothing like beer and meat to make you feel like a man.

Also, people in Tanzania are very friendly and generous. They will give you--and I mean this--the shirt off their back. Sometimes it will be an old Mötley Crüe t-shirt from America that someone's mom gave to charity before it made its way into the Third World t-shirt market. But a shirt's a shirt.

Even the thieves are nice in Tanzania. Sometimes they will steal your money and give you back your wallet. Sometimes you can reason with them and they will give you some money back.

And in Tanzania (this is the best part) when you think your life is really bad, you can go downtown and walk past the lepers and beggars, and come away wiggling your toes and snapping your fingers, thinking, hey, things could be a lot, lot worse.