Welcome, or as we say in Swahili : Karibu to Zanzibar.
As you know from my former blogpost Mike and I went to Zanzibar on the 25th of November 2016. This feels and is, a long time ago already.
Ever since we have been here I wanted to write a blogpost. Little did I know that you will find gold easier then you will find good WiFi.
So many times have past by that I was walking on the beach and was thinking, this or that I have to tell the people at home trough my blog. But as ideas and stories in your head may come up, they will go as well. Now it is low season I have found the chance to come and tell you all about our life for the past 4 months. Take a drink and a snack and enjoy our story.
As you may not know Zanzibar is a small Island, and its actual name is Unguja and it is located in the Indian Ocean. It is one of the two islands of Tanzania, Pemba is the Island close to Zanzibar but less touristic. Zanzibars’ name comes originally from the Persians’ Zang-bar which means: black coast. Zanzibar has a history of slavery, in 1873 the slavery ended on Zanzibar under force of the British Navy. On the mainland of Tanzania the slavery ended after the first World War.
When we arrived on Zanzibar it was quit a shock for me, I had seen more of Africa than Mike (South Africa, Cape Verde, Tunisia & Egypt) but Zanzibar was more like you imagine Africa then all the others countries I’ve been combined. That said, Mike had never been tot Africa and he was really calm. We drove from the airport at around 10 o’clock in the evening together with our friends Frank & Janneke to a guesthouse named Bellevue. Frank & Janneke joined us the first two weeks on our adventure which was amazing. After two nights in the beautiful guesthouse of the owner of the Kitecenter, it was time to go to the ‘Orange house’. The Orange house is the house Mike & I and most of the instructors live in for the season. It is directly in the center of Paje. Let me say it was quit an experience, imagine one of your worst experienced student houses you have ever been in, and then that is it. But as it is the same with everything, it just needs time to get used to it. Now it even feels like home! First thing we did was get all the old furniture out because we were sure we did not want to sit on it. We put on some white bed sheets on our bed and it looked like a hotel room. Big shout out to our friends who helped cleaning the house on their holiday. Although in three months we’ve cooked maybe 5 times in the ‘kitchen’ (the rest of the time we went out for dinner) I am going to miss the house. It learned us to be happy with everything you have in the Netherlands. It was very nice to live together with people, the more the merrier I always say.
So this was where our adventure began, then it was time to explore the village and the beach (and our workplace) of Paje. The village is how you expect Africa to be. Houses of stone, with no or little furniture and little or no electricity or running water. People mostly live their lives outside of the house on the street, cooking, washing, socializing and working. As the main religion of Zanzibar is Muslim you will see the women’s dressed up in long dresses and head scarfs, sometimes you will see the man wearing a hat as well. The first thing you will notice is that there are children playing everywhere. From sunrise (6am) until sunset (between 6 and 7 pm) the village will be lively and children are playing outside. When it is dark outside the people live there lives inside their houses, notice that there are no street lanterns on Zanzibar. Dark is dark, do not forget to look up because you will see the most beautiful sky you have ever seen. The stars are so bright, it happened many times that I was falling face forward because I spent my time walking with my head up looking to the sky.
In Zanzibar you will not even walk with your head up to gaze at the stars at night, you will look up because of the many, I state many palm trees there are. You will look up to them to watch out if you don’t get a coconut on the top of your head. Falling coconuts are more dangerous than sharks you know.. We experienced a few coconuts and palm leaves falling down, you don’t want them on top of your head. On another note you really don’t have to be ”scared” of the people on Zanzibar, they are super friendly, always saying; ”Jambo”’or ”Karibu” which means hello and welcome. In our eyes the people are very poor, but they do not see themselves that way. Most of the times there is enough food to provide for the family and water out of a put or tank close by. The difference with us is that they do not care so much about how they look, and how their house looks like. You will find little furniture in their houses, just because they live their lives outside and they do not care so much as we do. People watch television in a local cafe so they do not have to have one at home. What is important in the lives of the Zanzibaris’ is dancing, like all African people they have an amazing feeling for rhythm.
Back to the reason why we were in Zanzibar. We managed a kitesurfschool called Kitecentre Zanzibar from December until half of March. In the peak season (christmas and springbreak holidays) we where with a group of 13 instructors. For me managing a kiteschool was a whole new experience, Mike has been managing a kiteschool before in the Netherlands. It was a really good experience and I gained a lot of knowledge about how to run your own business. I also know that at this moment in my life it is not the responsibility I want to have. This is also the reason why we decided to not stay for another season (June until October) which was originally the plan. I decided that if I had a gap year I should not be working more than I did back at home. That is why we decided to go back as kitesurf instructors and make our money that way while travelling in between. Currently we are working in Morocco for KiteWorldWide.
We had a great time living on Zanzibar and learned lots of different things about life. We found it amazing that our friends Frank, Janneke, Hanneke, Robin and my parents came by to visit us on this beautiful Island. I will write up a next blogpost about the 10 best places to go and to do in Zanzibar. Keep an eye out for that!
Zanzibar is a beautiful Island which I can recommend to everyone!