Die Beschreibung ist in Englisch und wurde in Afrika verfasst. Ich hoffe es ist gut verständlich! Enjoy!
Life in Jambiani is very slow and not very relaxing. Just taking care of the bare necessities of daily life is a struggle. But whatever the hardships, and there are many, I am struck by the strong community and family ties that are the essence of this beachfront village. Everyone knows each other. The houses are so close together that they almost touch and the people who live in them work together and help each other as if they are all one family. The children run down the village road carefree and fearless because they know that there is always someone watching over them. At sunset many of the women congregate on the beach with their children….the children play while their mothers discuss the day’s events. When I go for my early morning walk on the beach I see the men returning with their catch after a night of fishing.
The village of Jambiani has a population of about 2000 people clustered along the shoreline in rough stone houses most with palm-thatched roofs. Most of the people are subsistence farmers. Many of the villagers earn some money by harvesting seaweed that is then exported to countries including the UK and the US. A very few have started small businesses like a local mini-mart or food stand. With the start of tourism a few hotels have hired local people to do some work. But these jobs are seasonal and not reliable. I am told that the average family income is less then $100 a month…even in Tanzania this is hardly enough to live on.
Daily life is difficult and I quickly learn that it is important to plan ahead because you never know if there will be electricity, water or even food available. The electricity can go off at any moment. More often then not it shuts down as soon as darkness sets in and stays off most of the night. I am so glad I brought a good headlamp to light the way during the long dark evenings. I realize there is no point to my having all my technological devices because there is no way to charge them. I must learn to live without them.
I got to know a lot of local people and they are so friendly and open-minded. They all greet you, they don't want any money of you, just some friendly words. They seem to be very satisfied with what they have. Family, friends, culture and religion are the most important issues, not money. I love this attitude.
The water is not potable so I must always remember to purify it before drinking. Bottled water is problematic too!! The merchants have a habit of refilling the deposit water bottles with the local water. It is usually easy to tell because the bottles are overfilled and the cap screws off too easily. Nevertheless, I got fooled today….wasn’t happy about it. Showers at their best are a weak drip of cold water. If the electricity is off, the water pump is off, and there is no water at all. Basically you can’t be lazy. If you need to fill your water bottle you must do it immediately because you might not be able to do it later. If it is “shower time” enjoy whatever water you have….it might not happen again for several days.
One thing that is probably clean is the Coca-Cola bottle. You could get it at every little shop nearby the street! It's ridiculous.. the people don't have enough clean drinking water, but the disgusting and unhealthy Coke is around everywhere!
Most people walk to where they have to go. The only other methods of transport are by bicycle (only a few local people have bikes) or via Dala Dala … that is an old pick up truck like vehicle that is lined with seats. They are called Dala Dala because they cost $1 no matter where you go. It is a very cheap way to get around but it is painfully slow and uncomfortable with people literally sitting on top of each other. There are a few taxis, but they are very expensive and usually require a lot of bargaining before you can hire one.
As poor as the people in this village are, many of them have mobile phones that run through satellite technology. The service is sporadic and unreliable. The NGO office and a few of the tourist hotels have dial up Internet, but it is rarely in service and is too slow to be useful. I realize that all my plans to keep in touch via Skype, post my blog and upload my pictures using the Internet were merely wishful thinking. It is better to accept this fact then to waste time looking for an internet connection….it just isn’t going to happen!!!
The food is a real challenge. I’ve never been much of a breakfast eater, but I soon recognize that it is best to eat the simple breakfast of eggs, toast and fruit because it might be the only real meal of the day. For the first few days I am very impressed by the fact that the cook serves egg white omelets. But this morning when poached eggs are served I realize that the yolk of the egg is a clear liquidly substance and not yellow. It is actually quite shocking to behold. The other volunteers explain that the chickens on Zanzibar lack the vitamin that causes the yolks to turn yellow. This is why the omelets look so pale and don’t have the same nutritional value.
There are only a few vegetables (mostly cabbage, onions and some tomatoes) but loads of fruits and usually they are served raw or only slightly cooked. Trying to heed the warning of the travel doctor who said never eat vegetables unless they are well cooked is proving to be difficult. The fish that is served is basically the ‘catch of the day’. Yesterday I saw the cook return to the compound early in the morning carrying a large Kingfish and of course last night it was the main course. Shellfish such as octopus, squid and shrimp are frequently served and all my efforts to explain that I don’t eat these types of fish are not understood.
There are no laundromats on Zanzibar. As a matter of fact there are no washing machines or dryers. All laundry is done by hand while sitting on the ground with a basin of water. Basically the clothing is dipped into the basin, removed and scrubbed using a brush (or a rock if no brush is available). Then it is rinsed off again in the basin and the water is wrung out of it. The clothes are then hung in the hot sun to dry. The scrubbing tears away at the fabric and the drying process usually fades away any color. With the unpredictable rains that happen even when it is sunny out, it could take days before the clothes dry.
Much of the village life takes place on the beach. During my early morning beach walk (at 6am) I am surprised to see so many people out and about. Men fishing and women harvesting seaweed are hard at work. I am fascinated by the fact that everything revolves around the tides. During low tide the water is very far out and is ideal for seaweed harvesting and work in the tidal pools. The beach is the main thoroughfare for getting from place to place at low tide. At high tide the water goes right up to the bungalows along the beach and can get quite rough. I am told by the local people to always know the schedule for the tides and to plan my activities around it.
The fact is I am too busy with teaching and taking care of all the necessities of daily living that I really don’t think about the comforts of home. I don't really miss them! Simple life here is wonderful. My world for the time being is centered on the small village of Jambiani. Each day flies by as I become more involved with the people and the village community.