Post CFSIA: Zanzibar

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It’s hard to accept that the Canadian Field Studies in Africa 2015 program is over and we’re now all loose and free in the world! This has been an incredibly meaningful experience in countless ways. I did so many new things throughout those 71 days: achieved a yoga headstand, tried jackfruit and octopus and squid, traded haircuts with a friend, swam in the Indian Ocean and saw bioluminescence, hiked a dormant volcano, saw so many animals, slept in a mud hut on a cowhide bed, milked a goat and a cow, saw the Southern Cross, learned to play guitar… And that’s not even the important stuff. I’ll write a post later about the whole program once I’ve processed it a bit more.

Just a couple of weeks ago we were in Lushoto, and now here we are on the island of Zanzibar. On the 17th we drove down out of the Usambara Mountains to Bagamoyo, on the coast. We stayed at a place right by the ocean, which was  as warm as bathwater and full of graceful dhows, and where we could hear the calls to prayer from the mosque several times a day. Most of our time there was spent writing exams and final assignments for the third session courses, as well as hurrying to finish our journals and do wrap-up debriefs and evaluations for the program, but we were still able to see a bit of the town. We did a city tour one day to see a mosque, a small shipyard for building dhows, the Catholic church with a huge baobab tree, some ruins, the fish market, and a lot of Arabic and Indian architecture. The Anthropology class also visited a youth group that aims to empower young people through the arts and watched them perform dancing and drumming. They also came on our last night to do a fire dance on the beach.

All too quickly, it was our last day all together on the 23rd. We said many sad goodbyes to the staff and then the 24 of us heading to Zanzibar for post-program relaxation bussed to Dar es Salaam, from where we took the ferry across to the island and then a taxi van about an hour and a half to our hostel on the east coast.

And so for the past five days we’ve been enjoying island life: sleeping in, swimming and lying on the nearly-empty beach (benefits of low season), walking down the road to buy fruit and water from a little stand in the village, reading in hammocks… The highlight was definitely the day we went snorkelling with dolphins (they were right there! I practically touched them!) and then snorkelling on a coral reef, followed by dinner at a restaurant called The Rock that you have to be boated to when the tide is high. I had gnocchi with Zanzibar vanilla and cinnamon ice cream. It was fabulous.

Soon we head to Stonetown for a couple of nights before heading to Moshi in preparation for our Kili climb! Stay tuned for another post!

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