May 18, 2012
Note: I put a break on this page because there are really too many pictures in this post.
Time for a well-deserved vacation on Zanzibar, where I can only hope white sands await.
Someone dropped a case of water in the water while we sitting on our ferry, waiting to leave for Zanzibar. Naturally, everything in Africa requires a group effort.
The island is the perfect real-life illustration of what we mean when we talk about the GINI index, income inequality, and unfair wealth distribution. All along the coast the government purchased the land from villagers and sold it for people who were capable of building hotels and resorts (mostly foreign money, as you can imagine). In the meantime, although the villagers have gained somewhat from this, they remain in deep poverty and for the most part, out of sight. As a result you can lay on white shores with blue water, drink an overpriced cocktail and eat relatively expensive food only a few meters away from children who are hungry and sick without hope of medical access. Most will never have the chance to get upper education, better jobs than their parents, or run those hotels they live next to.
I also feel conflicted myself. Going to Zanzibar promotes the local economy, encourages the government to keep the environment pristine, and brings international exchange and ideas and yet I feel insanely guilty spending my money on my hotel when perhaps I could donate it elsewhere. I always try to find a balance between doing things for myself and helping others, but when I see the situation of some of these villages (which many people never do) I wonder if anything I do will ever be enough (or effective).
The drive up north to Kendwa, a neighborhood and beach in Zanzibar
Fresh fruits and veggies, hands down favorite meal in Africa
School children on their way home
Our First Hotel
The first night we ended up in a hotel that was far too expensive for being under construction, with bad mosquito nets, a half-closed restaurant, no beach, and no night life (among other things). We left the next day, but until then we enjoyed a beautiful sea view and sunset.
Post-swim, drying out our towels...