One of our volunteers has written a fabulous blog about Zanzibar. We will be posting as a two part series, so check back next Monday for N through Z of her stroll through Zanzibar!
A is for Azam
Azam is brand name common to products in Zanzibar. It is important to note that for food items such as cookies, chips and ice cream, it is often difficult to find the same kinds as the ones we are used to. In most cases, Azam can be considered a reliable alternative for the brands that we are familiar with in North America.
B is for Safari Blue
A ‘Blue Safari’ includes snorkeling, (non-intrusive) dolphin watching, climbing of a 500 year old tree and a delicious seafood lunch on the banks of a secluded island. The original Safari Blue tour operator is an ethically responsible company that employs locals and supports a dozen of development projects, which left us feeling both satisfied and virtuous.
C is Cats
Zanzibar is at the same time paradise and hell for cat lovers. On one hand, there is an absolute abundance of cats on the island. The hotels and restaurants are overrun with these furry scavengers. But on the other hand, these malnourished, often-injured felines bear little resemblance to their fat Canadian counterparts.
D is for Dala dala
Public transport in Tanzania consists primarily of mini-buses known as the Dala dalas. There is no observable schedule for these buses as far as I’ve noticed, although most of the routes come often enough that there is really no need for one. Almost all of the dala dala congregate at a massive market called the Darajani, where you can catch a bus to nearly every part of theisland.
E is from Emerging Leaders Workshop
The Emerging Leaders Workshop is one of the projects that YCI has established in Zanzibar in association with ZANGOC. The goal of the workshop is capacity building for the youth members involved in ZANGOC organizations. Topics covered by the workshop include community development, civil rights/active citizenship, interview/resume skills and leadership.
F is for Foradhani Gardens
A night at the Foradhani Gardens can be described as the perfect combination of culture and cuisine. Open at sundown, the night market has something for everyone. My personal favourite at the night market has to be the famous “Mr. Ali” shawrama wrap, stuffed with juicy boneless chicken and topped with salad and the best chilli sauce I’ve had; best enjoyed with a breathtaking sunset and the shadowy shapes of local children diving into the Indian Ocean.
G is for Gender Equality Team
A second program facilitated by YCI during the time I was in Zanzibar is the Gender Equality team (GET). GET is comprised of women and men from ZANGOC member organizations who are interested in the issue of gender. The goal of the GET team is to perform gender auditing for all affiliated NGOs and to give training for the NGO members on gender equity within the workplace. In addition, partnered with the YCI volunteers, GET members are also responsible for hosting a community event for International Women’s Day.
H is for Homestay
During my phase, I had the pleasure of staying with Mwana’s family in the Kikwa Juni district, which has the very fortunate location of being a 10 minute walk from Stone Town. On a scale of one to ten, I would have to give my homestay experience a solid eleven. As soon as we stepped in the door, everyone treated us like we were part of the family and made every effort to make us feel comfortable there. Growing up with no siblings, the kids were definitely the best part of the experience for me. The children (being children) are raucous and naughty but redeem themselves by being adorable.
I is for IT
The IT team in Zanzibar consists of two innovator volunteers. During this phase, the innovators created a website for ZANGOC and its member organizations using a WordPress platform and conducted training for representatives from various NGOs. In addition, a communications workshop has been set up by the IT team to educate ZANGOC members on methods to expand outreach and how to better market themselves.
J is for Jozani Forest
Jozani Forest is home to the endangered Red Colobus Monkeys, one of the rarest monkeys in Africa. What they don’t tell you in the guidebooks is that the forest is absolutely swarming with these monkeys. During our trip to the forest, the monkeys were literally dropping left, right and centre from the trees. It’s interesting to note that the tourists aren’t allowed to touch or feed the monkeys, so my guess is that the monkeys are just extremely social as they have nothing to gain from their proximity to us.
K is for Kangas
Kangas are a traditional patterned cloth used as a head scarf/wrap skirt by local women (apparently they are worn by men too but I haven’t noticed much of that during my time here). Due to Zanzibar’s large Muslim population and the practice of women covering their hair/face in public, Kangas are extremely popular here and the image of a group of local women strolling along in this colourful material can be quite a pretty sight.
L is for Livingstones
With its convenient location and nice view, Livingstones is a popular expat hangout. They have live music on the weekends and many tables located directly on the beach. The food and drinks are quite pricey though. Expect to pay around 30,000 for a meal.
M is for Mwanakwereke
The YCI office in Zanzibar is located in the Mwanakwereke district, a busy area filled with shops and a large residential community. To reach the YCI take dala dala 507 and 504, although 507 is preferred as it drops you off right across the street from the office.
-Sida Bai, Youth Ambassador, Tanzania 2012
Remember to check back next week for Part 2 of Sida’s blog. In the meantime, read more about our upcoming Tanzania projects on our Program Calendar.