Peace I leave with you; my peace I give you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid. John 14:27
A holiday away from holiday! This week I went to Zanzibar! If you haven’t heard of Zanzibar, it’s a small island off the East coast of Tanzania and it’s beautiful.
Six of us took a one hour flight from Kilimanjaro airport and landed in Stone Town, Zanzibar on Monday afternoon. I was with a group from Twiga house- Kira, Jonas, Eden, Kendall and Bree. Jonas was the only male, but I don’t think he minded. We arrived to crazy hot and humid weather, immediately sweating through all our clothes before we had reached our accommodation. We were staying in a hostel in Stone Town for one night, which was fortunate because they messed up our booking and Kira and I had to share a bed in the wet heat. Stone Town is a beautiful and historic city. Streets reminded me of Europe and the atmosphere was lively and loud, but the locals were less interested in us as white tourists than they are in Arusha. I think they are used to tourists being in their town. The majority of the population of Zanzibar is Muslim and Arab culture is very much alive. On our first night we had a tour of the slave market where we heard a bit of history on slavery in Zanzibar and Africa, we also went into a tiny, prison-like, concrete room that stored 50 or so slaves, and it was hideous and frightening to go into somewhere so inhumane. After our history lesson we wandered the streets, getting to see the old fort, which was built in the 17th century by the Omanis to protect themselves from the Portuguese. We ate at the food markets by the harbour, watching the massive stray cats searching for food.
Our second and last day in Stone Town was an interesting experience. We spent all morning enjoying the sights, walking the streets, checking out stores, seeing the historic Hamamni Persian baths and seeing more food markets (and almost vomiting from the smell of the meat). When we were hot, exhausted and ready for food, we went on the hunt for a place to eat. We tried out one place but decided against it and kept looking, and finally settled on a place to eat. The restaurant looked nice enough, and we were too tired to notice that the place was empty. We ordered our food, got room temperature soft drinks (because they didn’t use a fridge to store them), and waited for our lunch to come. We continued to wait, and wait some more, and grew more and more impatient as our hunger turned into hanger. We eventually started taking bets on when the food would come, and in the end it took one and a half hours. The food was awful. Most of us couldn’t finish. Four of us ordered hummus, and left the bowl full because it tasted like play-dough. Three of us ordered a plate of samosas each, and they came out with one plate of 5 for us to share, saying that they had run out. In the end, the meal had somehow made me more hangry. But because I wanted to buy art before leaving the city, I couldn’t stop to find another place to eat and ended up finding a dairy to buy a block of chocolate. It was not a fun experience, but funny to reminisce upon (this is Africa, right?).
That afternoon we took a taxi to a resort called Kendwa Rocks at the beach. We were staying in a massive dorm room which was cooled by fans, but still remained too hot to handle. I found myself constantly sweating. The beach we were staying at was the most beautiful beach I have ever seen. The sand was pure white and the sea was bright blue and clear. We spent the rest of the week relaxing by the beach, sipping cocktails, eating ice cream and finishing our books (I 10/10 recommend Dark Places by Gillian Flynn). On our first full day there I checked out the resort’s spa, and decided to get a full body massage with Kendall. It was the first time I have gotten a professional massage and I do not regret it! What a relaxing and wonderful experience. I just wish it was cheaper. On Thursday we took a two hour boat trip to Mnemba Island, which is owned by Bill Gates so we wouldn’t actually walk on the island. I learned how to snorkel for the first time and got to see fish (cute little dory) and coral. It wasn’t the most amazing underwater views but it was an awesome and beautiful experience. I got super bad sunburn and got sunstroke that evening but I slept it off. The rest of the week was spent relaxing, sleeping in the shade and enjoying the cool, clear water under the hot and humid sun. We sadly had to say goodbye to Kendall and Kira as they had to leave for their home countries (Hawaii, US and Toronto, Canada). On our last night on the island, Kendwa Rocks hosted a “full moon” party for hundreds of people on the beach. There was a barbecue dinner, live music and then a DJ set and we danced all night.
Zanzibar was an absolute stunner of an island and I am beyond happy I got to see it and enjoy it for a week. Again, I am so blessed to be here and every day has been amazing. I wish I could spend more time on Zanzibar, but alas, the holiday has to end at some point. Now back in Arusha, these last couple of weeks are a time to enjoy placement and do as much as I can while I’m here. Twiga House is much more quiet since so many people left, which is sad, but still nice to be here. It’s unbelievable how quick my trip has gone by, and I hope it continues to be as joyful and as peaceful as I have felt so far. It’s still hard to believe I’m here and I am having the time of my life. I feel like I say this every blog post but I can’t help but to reflect upon how grateful I am to be here. Thanks for reading! I hope to bring you some more content next week (maybe not quite as exciting).
Until next time,