We live in Mwanza, Tanzania, serving with Emmanuel International helping local churches in physical and spiritual ministry.

Saturday, 20 October 2018

Zanzibar

Zanzibar. Spice Island. A beautiful island bursting with history and culture, bright colours and spices! We met Mum at the airport in Dar es Salaam on Sunday and came straight to Stone Town, the port on the west coast of the island. We had an amazing day on Monday exploring the sights, sounds and smells of Stone Town. Wandering through the Darajani Market, we found vanilla pods, cinnamon, nutmeg, cloves, pepper, cardamon … fish and fruits and interestingly, lots of hair scrunchies!  We meandered through the narrow alleys, admiring the ornately carved wooden doors and soaking up the atmosphere! 


We had spiced coffee on the breezy rooftop of the Zanzibar Coffee House, one of the oldest buildings in Stone Town and with a "real" coffee table!
Coffee with a view



We visited the museum at the site of the old Slave Market, an incredibly moving memorial to the many thousands of people kidnapped, enslaved and sold in the Arab Slave Trade. Slaves arrived in Stone Town crammed in dhows (wooden boats) from Bagamoyo (which means "lay down your heart"). And laying down their hearts is what those slaves did before giving up on freedom before the perilous journey across to Zanzibar. They were held for up to 7 days in low, dark, airless underground chambers until being taken up to the market to be traded, if they had not already died on the boat or suffocated in the chamber. 


After absorbing the sobering reality of what happened, and also the tragic reality that slavery is as much alive today as it was then, we sat in the first Anglican Cathedral in East Africa, the vision and work of Bishop Steere in the 1870's. The altar is set on the spot of the former whipping post of slaves. The cross at the altar is carved from the tree under which David Livingstone's heart is buried in Zambia. Livingstone's call for compassion, his passionate pleas for change from what he called "...this trade in Hell, this open sore of the world..." was heard. It was amazing to see how the compassion and dedication of the Christians in that day helped slaves make the difficult adjustment to freedom, setting up vocational training, health centres, schools. Their work was inspirational for us all today.
Christ Church Cathedral 

As the sun set over the Indian Ocean, we enjoyed the atmosphere at Foradhani Gardens, the ultimate food fair! We settled for delicious Indian at the Silk Route, sitting high in this restaurant close to the Old Fort, the oldest building of Stone Town, built by Omani Arabs after expelling the Portuguese in 1699. It was a perfect end to an amazing day.





The next day was a visit to Pastor Dixon, a brave man with an amazing testimony and this was followed by a tour of a Spice Farm and then our arrival at the beach on the east coast of the island … but those stories will be for another blog!


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