A July 2005 trip
to Zanzibar by greghuntoon
Quote: After years of hard work, I needed a long respite to re-energize and reconnect with what makes me tick. I skipped town and returned to my second home in Zanzibar, Tanzania, and unwound walking through the markets with family and playing soccer on the beach.
Hotel | "Hakuna Majiwe"
Member Rating 5 out of 5 on September 15, 2006
Hakuna Majiwe Lodge
Southeast Coast of Zanzibar
255 777 454505
Member Rating 5 out of 5 on September 26, 2006
It was a good day, filled with games and a lot of time for me with the kids. We spent a lot of time together running here and there, playing soccer, and running out into the ocean to cool off every once in a while.
Member Rating 3 out of 5 on September 14, 2006
"Hello. How are things?"
"Good, and you?"
"Only peaceful. How's it?"
"Cool for sure."
"And your health?"
"Everyone is well, and yours?"
"Ahh, everyone good, but brother is sick."
"Malaria or what?"
"No, not malaria, just a cold."
"Ok. So what are you doing today?"
"Nothing really, but I think we're going to go play soccer later."
And so on and so forth. It's not so different from our own meetings...perhaps it's just that it seems to happen with so many more people. These are the conversations that come up with just about everyone that you know. It's not something that is reserved for your closest friends, as we might be used to in the States. Everyone is related here, and I don't mean that quite as literally as it sounds. There are so many friends, and friends of your siblings, and your parents' friends children, etc. It's pretty cool to see so many people in and out of the house sharing food, conversation, and laughs.
My brothers had me rolling today; we were laughing so hard, I think I did my stomach workout for the day. They are big movie fans, and it's so funny to hear the quotes that make them laugh, not to mention how great it is to hear a Zanzibari imitate Mel Brooks from The History of the World or Brad Pitt's gypsy-speak from Snatch. It's too much. I had to leave at the end of Snatch tonight, 'cause I can't wait too late to walk back to my place at night - it's not really safe apparently. I don't envision anyone taking a chance with me, but I've heard some pretty messed up stories lately, so I returned earlier than I wanted to. Now I'm going to try to sleep with the workers building the apartment complex next door all through the night. It's 1am, and they're still going strong.
Good night neverland...
My shock finally showed up yesterday afternoon on the beach as I twisted my back in a game of soccer with the boys. I didn't think that it was that bad, and so I stretched it out to the best of my ability and headed into the water for a little swim. The swim felt quite nice on the back, and that was the last time I felt comfortable.
So, I'm now officially "just too old to be playing soccer with the boys," says Salwah, the eldest daughter of the eldest daughter in the family. She gives me a hard time about my Swahili each day, and last night I think a part of her was happy that I'd hurt myself because she had new fodder to throw at me. It's funny, and man, is it nice being around people who force you to laugh at yourself. They mean me nothing but goodness with their witty jabs, and even though laughing hurts, it sure is soothing to the soul. They were the same way when I had malaria so many years ago, only then I remember feeling mildly offended that they could laugh while I was laying there dying. Man...
I can be such a dramatic boob sometimes, and while this pain is rather bad, it's just not so bad that my outlook needs to change. It is forcing me to look at a lot of things, hence the culture shock. It's a gift: a mirror. What do I get to learn from this? It seems this experience is planting me firmly in the moment.
Culture shock shows us about imperfection, and how good it is to know that. I am learning about my own imperfections, those of my culture, and, this time, the imperfections about Zanzibar as well. Right now I see how romantically I've held Zanzibar in my memories, and it's so much nicer to see it clearer, with its faults alongside its beauty. I am learning so much on this trip that I never learned before. Perhaps since my Kiswahili is not as good as it once was, I'm getting a chance to ask some things in Kienglish that I never had the chance to before. For example, I am learning about the Qu'ran everyday, a knowledge that provides so much insight into my family, as they live a rather devout Islamic lifestyle. I'm not attempting to lose myself in another language and culture anymore, but rather to see new things in the reflection.
I am always striving to get better, and using the perfect ideal in any situation as the mountain to walk towards. But really, it's where I stand right here and now where the view is best and the clearest. I always think that I can see clearer and farther looking to the future and to the past, but I tell you, it's so much clearer looking and examining the current moment, especially when one is nearsighted like I am. Hindsight may be 20/20, but it views something which continues to grow in distance each second...the here and now is always so and, as such, can always be felt, tasted, seen, and heard. Now can always be experienced without a lens.
Today, I'm in pain, missing home a little bit, and generally just a little off kilter. But you know, I'm right here, feet planted in a place where the sun explodes in the evening and the rains wash the land as day breaks. I can feel the moment more strongly now than I could yesterday before this little mishap, and so for that, I'm now washed of any regret about hurting myself. My feet are going to be up for a couple of days resting, but shit, I need to do some reading and writing anyhow...
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