Zanzibar, Tanzania

December 9, 2015

Zanzibar was a city truly living in simultaneously the past and present. Full of life, it is a city embedded deep in African culture that is being tugged slowly forward into modern times, held back by poverty and a rich love of tradition. In the market you may see someone selling smart phones, but the "store" is a rotted out box on the street corner- the "store owner" sits with no shoes, his dirty, worn feet are propped up on a crumbled foundation that used to be a wall and his wife sits next to him, selling bananas and oranges. The children, also part of the family busniess have poured juice into old plastic bottles they have collected and no doubt washed in the dirty water. There is trash everywhere, and peeling signs of political propaganda. Most people walk barefoot, and the women carry baskets on their head. They offer banana leaves for rain protection, calling them "local umbrellas." The fish market, buzzes with flies and the energy of men bargaining for a good deal. With no concern for sanitation, the men line up in their stations, slapping fish on the stone and rolling out the octopus like it is pizza dough. An old man brings in a new batch of fish- via a bicycle that has a large basket haphazardly tied on the front. On the street you will see both cars and buses, as well as cows or donkeys pulling carts behind them. The houses in most villages are made of mud and have to constantly be rebuilt, as they decompose with each rainstorm. 90 percent of the population is muslim and the town is colored by the women's head scarves. Men wear traditional African hats, while also sporting graphic t-shirts from American companies like Nike. The school girls wanted to touch my hair and asked what my father's name was- laughing at the name, "John." Tanzania was the last city to have a slave market, and the remains of the slave chambers still remain offering a haunting reminder of the horrific business that happened not very long ago. It was an eye-opening and amazing day in Zanzibar. It truly felt like I was in a whole other world.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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