Starting on a personal note I would like to apologize for my recent absence (mainly in the hope that you missed me) but when technology decides to take matters into its own hands there isn't much we can do but wait until our good friend the IT guy calls you up and tells you that everything is fine and that your 7-year-old laptop is a-ok and still has a heartbeat.
Now after that and because fate or simply my age wants to give me warnings about my actions, my lower back put me in bed for a nice weekend and sent me to the pharmacy for injections in my heinie, twice per day!
So, after sharing my past few weeks of unsteeming (my term) with you, let me get to the reason I started this whole blog, article you name it, I don't even dare!
During my abstention from this world (online realm) and trying to fill my free time with some reading and lots of work when my back still allowed me that, I remembered my last big trip in Africa and specifically in Zanzibar.
#Zanzibar sunset at the beach
It was my first well planned trip, second trip in Africa, having already visited Egypt for diving! This however, wasn't a scuba diving trip. Although I didn't miss the chance to log four dives.
Though Zanzibar isn't mainland Africa, it's composed of the Zanzibar archipelago off the coast of Tanzania, consisting of two main islands, it has all the characteristics of any other African country you chose to visit plus the fact that it is coastal. The capital city is called Stone Town and it's a World Heritage Site. It's also known as the "spice island"since one of the main exports is spices!
By the way if and when you decide to visit do NOT miss going on the spice tour!
Zanzibar is a very poor country with the locals trying to balance the presence of western hotel units and the tourists that they bring with their everyday effort to survive in an unbalanced world! It's a world of differences but the people are the truest that you'll ever meet.
The thing that surprised me the most was the first time we met the local kids! A great number of kids would visit the hotel trying to have conversation and of course gain whatever they can from their "exotic" visitors.
Having read a few things prior to my visit I took from the airport a few bags of candies with the intention to give them away to the kids and steal a few smiles!
After the sweets had finished, I managed to have a few words with the oldest of the bunch and I will never forget what followed! All of them wanted to have a gift but when I asked what would be the thing that they would desire the most, it wasn't toys or balls or anything like that! They all asked for pencils, or pens and notebooks or even books that they could use to write or read!
Anything!! It was life changing, it was a revelation! In similar conversations with the hotel's staff, when talking in English and having unknown words their first response was to wait so that they can write down the unknown word and remember its meaning! I have never met anyone, ever again, not a person but people so thirsty for knowledge!
It was simply amazing and heartbreaking at the same time.
Life as it should be
I realize now as I am writing these words that I could go on and on in my effort to take you to Zanzibar and share the feelings that this trip gave me with you but I think that I would end up tiring you! Maybe in a future post I will write for some more experiences, but for now I need to tell you what I saw in one of the most poor places that I have ever visited!
Poor means that the fish village that I stayed at had no running water and no electricity. It means that local people are getting paid, monthly, between 50 and 75 dollars and working in hotels that charge the same amount of money for one night! Families that share most of the days of the week a plate of food among the whole family, even if the food has gone bad for days!
Even so it was the truest place I have ever been to! Kids knew how to have fun, playing at the beach after the hot hours of the sun being high in the sky and in the morning kids' songs walking to school would wake you up a bit after sunrise to let you know that the day is beginning.
It was one of the best experiences of my life because it showed me exactly what we are missing in the way of life that we have chosen to lead. The simple things are the best ones and all we need is really not much and yet I realize the oxymoron of what I am writing since I am sharing this to a platform that works and operates because of this technological boost that characterizes today's society!
Maybe all I am saying is that we need some kind of balance between the speed of our world and everyday life's speed!
Local boat sailing at Zanzibar's coast
P.S. All photos were taken by me with an iphone6, and/or goprohero4, and a borrowed camera whose features I don't even remember but I can tell you it was pretty decent. ;)
P.S.2 Hope you enjoyed it, thanks for your time! Cheers!
P.S.3 Money well spent is money spent on traveling and books. I just had to write this and I couldn't decide where to put it in the main text.