Tara and I got back at about 3 that afternoon from Matemwe. After our dive we were suppose to get back to our shuttle bus which was at the next hotel. The scuba diving people offered us a ride ( it was about a ten minute walk) but I opted for walking by the beach instead. Even though the driver of the shuttle could leave without us (if we took too long) I was in the whole ” nothing really matters – I’m alive ” mood. We walked barefoot on the sand and reached the hotel and got back on the shuttle bus.
Now that we had one whole afternoon free and nothing particular to do ( now that we had crossed Jambiani and scuba diving off our list) I texted Sabrina. It was pretty cool – I had hung out with her in Kibaha where there were rules on where on campus she could go ( because of boys) and there was only a limited space I could hang out with her in. Here I had the whole island to hang out with her on. Anyways I told her a place that we could meet. It was a park in the centre of Zanzibar. She came and met us there and gave me a big hug. She told me that she was praying for me and was worried when I didn’t reply to her text. I laughed and thanked her for her prayers ..then she told us to come home. Her house was just down the road. I remember in Kibaha she had told me to come meet her family ( she was actually staying with a friend and that was her friend’s family. Zanzibar used to be Sabrina’s home when her parents were alive but now her sponsor lived in Dar es Salaam so she was here only for a week staying with a friend.) So me and Tara figured why not..it would be an experience. This part of town was not alleyways or high walls but just dusty roads and houses. She meandered her way through houses and we entered a house. It was much more than I expected. It was actually quite normal. There were 3 rooms if I remember correctly a big siting room which was empty if I remember correctly and a TV. Her aunt was there and there were many women around her. Her aunt had actually just come back from Hajj and all these women had come to see her. I smiled. How amazing that the richest man in the world can go for Hajj and a woman living in the streets of Zanzibar :). Anyways we entered and she welcomed us in and hugged us both. We let her be with the women and followed Sabrina to the outside where her other aunt was mixing something up over the fire. We said our Salaams and sat there with them outside.They offered us Kahawa – which is the coffee they drink. I think we tried to say no but you know Tanzania and no – there’s never know. Sabrina brought both of us Kahawa and
then her aunt gave us a piece of the Kasahata she was making. Kashata is a snack that is made of nuts and grated cocunut – kind of like an energy bar or a cookie.We all sat together and talked and laughed. I spoke the Swahili that made everyone laugh and we took a couple of pictures. Her aunt asked me if I had ever gone for Hajj and I replied that I hadn’t and if she could pray that I do go soon and she said ” Don’t worry Inshallah you will go soon .” I felt humbled just being there with her. I felt humbled just being in their home – welcomed the way I was and treated like family. Tara and I were in awe. WE were both so glad we were here. We were doing Zanzibar Zanzibari Style. We were having Kahawa and Kachata with Zanzibaris in their homes. What else could we ask for ?
In time, it was Maghrib time (evening prayers). The electricity had just gone off actually. Sabrina and her friend brought candles inside. Even though Tara and I were in proper attire to pray Sabrina and her friend ( Tamima) were determined to dress me in and her in a Kanga which is basically a big piece of cloth. And so they put one on us as a skirt and another on top as a big scarf.
I had promised Abbas ( Kaneez Aunty’s( the woman we were staying with) son ) I would get him a mishkaki ( which is meat on a stick). SO after prayers, Sabrina and Tamima were allowed to come with us and so we went and looked for some mishkaki! Tara was also looking for some Cinnamon to take home with her. Zanzibar is known for its spices. We walked through the streets and found a mishkaki and waited for it to be made. Next we were on a mission to find Tara’s cinnamon. But by this point everything had started to close and people told us to come the next morning. We were leaving the next morning on the 11am ferry but figured we would give it a shot.
Because of the meandering streets of Zanzibar we needed the girls to drop us to familiar territory – like where the docks were because there was no way we would find our way through those streets and it was almost 8 pm. They left us and we decided we would meet the next day and Tara and I walked back to our house which we had figured how to get to after the docks.
If I remember correctly we both passed out. It had been an eventful day. The fear about diving that had plagued me for the last 2 nights was finally over with. I was grateful I was alive. I had just had the most amazing afternoon having Kahawa and Kashata at Sabrina’s place and had met her wonderful aunts and there was really nothing more I could ask for..:)