Saturday, August 27, 2016


I went to Zanzibar for a  two week vacation in June, could have stayed there forever. It was a mix of Indian and Arabic culture. One of my next goals is to stay there for a few months.  

I stayed in Stone Town for about 3 days wandering around (eating and shopping for clothes) and then went to Jambiani, one of the quieter villages on the east coast for 4 days.  I fell in love with Jambiani and the Mango Beach Guesthouse so only came back to Stone Town to get more money (as the only ATMs are in Stone Town). One of the local expats from Jambiani was in town that day and kindly offered me a ride back.

I think the pictures will speak for themselves. In Jambiani I sometimes went 2 days without putting shoes on. My only regret is that I didn't ride a bike along the beach to the next village, or walk the full length of Jambiani through the village, will do that next time.

My first day in Stone Town I went to a spa, had a massage and scrub by a blind woman then sat down to this view to have a mani-pedi. 

Stone Town
This is Farid.  I met two young American men at the hotel who invited me on a street tour. Three hours long for $5, we saw alot, learned alot.  Farid is an activist, had a newspaper and now has a radio talk show.  Needless to say, he knew everyone.  It was Ramadam at the time but Farid bought some street food and we went to a community centre he had founded and ate there discreetly (we did, he didn't).
This is the view from a rooftop restaurant.  I was the only customer there (Ramadam) so the waiters had lots of time to talk with me .  They said they could find me a room to rent for $40 per month..
My room at the Mango Beach Guesthouse, Jambiani

My patio. 

Kiddo's Cafe.  Ate breakfast and dinner here most days. Food was delicious with a European flair.  It got dark at 6:30 so I preferred to be home by then, although most places offered to bring me back home if I came for dinner. Next time . . . .
View from the cafe

If you have trouble relaxing, the cats offer lessons . . . .

For rinsing the sand off your feet before stepping on the patio.  What TV show does this remind you of?   
Tide coming in, this was the most people I ever saw on the beach at one time.

These two guys took me out snorkelling, we went about a kilometre out, it was only 40 feet deep (or so it looked). As I was getting in, I wondered how I would get back in the boat out there and decided it was their problem (or they could tow me).
After I was done, this guy hauled me over the side of the boat like dead fish.  He then said ""Sorry I had to do that"". 

View from the Step-In Restaurant. I ate lunch here a few times, came for ice cream a little more often.  A few times the tide came in and I had to walk along the path off the beach to go home.

Hermit Crab tracks around the guesthouse each morning. I never saw them during the day.

Thursday, August 4, 2016

Update #2

A big thank you to all of you, I really enjoy your emails giving me an update of what you're doing.  I now enjoy looking at Facebook! . It's quiet, business as usual here, as if we are a world away from the capital city. We get updates regularly.

I scratched a bite on my ankle too much and it started to bleed, just a bit. The flies just love coming to an open wound, and they were biting too!  I put a band-aid on it. The flies were lined up at the edges of the band-aid like cars in a parking lot. Fortunately, I left for vacation and the flies in Zanzibar were not interested and it healed.

I have not seen nor felt any mosquitoes but I am certainly being bitten, but it's not like northern Ontario where you are swarmed. At the moment, a good spray of insect repellent on feet and arms as the sun is going down usually works. Never had more than 5-6 bites in a day.

The rain has brought cooler air, it's actually quite comfortable now, about 28C in the morning and getting just a little hot in the afternoon. The nature tv programs that talk about the rain bringing life are so true. With the rain came the bugs, a new kind each week. The first two days, I was killing the ones in my tukul ( maybe 4 or 5 each night), but gave up. They don't bite and most were dead on the floor in the morning. Occasionally, one meets its demise from me rolling over on it in the middle of the night. Last week it was grasshoppers, this week  dragon flies; have had 3 toads in my tukul so far.  Escorted the first two out, told the third to make himself comfortable, have not seen him since. They are small and cute, no bigger than an loony; I have seen some that could sit on a dime and still have lots of room.

The frogs, croaking at night sounding like a dull roar. The cows came back to town, sounding like mournful dinosaurs. Hundreds of white egrets came to the trees; we have metal things mounted in the trees that we can bang to scare them off (they are prolific poopers), they have since moved on. I've seen a few snakes, just little foot long ones that my colleagues are happy to kill and apparently not the dangerous ones; have not seen a scorpion yet.

When I walk the airstrip, I'm greeted by kids who are just thrilled to see me They call out to me "kuwai, kuwai"" and come running. They want to touch my hair, hold my hands, pinch my arms and one day they started licking my hands (realized I have to learn how to say 'no' in Nuer. And then there's the odd boy who touches my breast. Some things never change.

I ate a fly.  Well, I didn’t actually eat it, my mouth was open and it flew in and straight down my throat like it knew where it was going. I didn’t even swallow.  By the time I realized what had happened it was too late to do anything.  The thought made me gag quite a bit, but I didn’t want to toss my breakfast, cause then I’d have to eat again, so I drank some water.  . Other people here have eaten flies, pretty much the same way, suffered no ill effects and it happened several weeks ago now and I’m still alive. I am careful to keep my mouth closed in the market where there are lots of flies but this one caught me off guard just as I finished brushing my teeth

The water pump that brings the water up the bore hole broke and fell into the bore hole. Oxfam who is also here, very kindly gave us water and had the equipment to get the old pump out of the bore hole but it took two weeks  before ours was up and running. We were allowed one quick shower a day and had to do our own laundry on an ‘emergency ’basis.  No washing of sheets and towels and we were all wearing our t-shirts a second time. It wasn’t so bad, but we’re glad to have the water back and the ladies doing our laundry (we were not getting the white tshirts as clean as they do). thank you Oxfam!

Party photos were taken by people at the party; other  photos were taken by John Koroma.
Party at the house of  local family, the entire neighbourhood came.


Expat Compound

Line up for  water.

 Feeding Program

This is the view from the Outpatient Department.That''s a WFP plane landing.

Ambulatory Therapeutic Feeding Progarm for kids.  Its not just a matter of giving them food,once they are malnourished, the food and supplement has to be given in specific quantity, specific times are they just vomit it all.

This is our kitchen, the room behind is where the ladies cook.

Babies are carried in these baskets, with lids, on top of their mom's head.

John getting the barbeque started for the goat. 

Kashif cooking the goat. That's a flashlight in his mouth.

Chipping the ice off the freezer is a job that several of us like to do.  .

Most of the interesting bugs move to fast for me to take a picture

Airstrip after a good rain

Preparing the pizza oven

Fabry cooking the pizza.

These ladies asked to have their photo taken.