Kathryn is celebrating an anniversary of sorts, and asked me to join her for cake and a long conversation where we can sit down and share our stories of how we both came to be here, where we are now. She’s a little tired right now, so we’re baking a cake while she rests, and then we’re going to get on with our little conversation. I’m sure it will be taking place on her porch (though there needs to be a new word invited for a porch of this variety), and I’ll have to make sure to take a bunch of pictures to post and show you all.
It’s really rather incredible and it overlooks ALL of Stone Town, no exageration. It is the tallest building in this part of the town which yields spectacular views in each and every direction. We’re even up high enough to see Bawe and Changuu islands which are about 5-10 kilometers from forodhani where the boats launch headed for each. I’m sad to hear that both islands, previously very clean and untouched, are receiving new resorts. You may have heard me tell the story of getting chased by a stone fish (one of the most poisonous fish in the Indian Ocean – one sting is said to feel like giving birth to two children at the same exact time) – well, that happened on Bawe Island three days after I origianlly arrived in Zanzibar. Now, apparently you can’t even visit the island because it was purchased by whomever is developing it.
Changuu is especially sad, because it has so much history. It’s also known locally as Prison Island, and has served many different purposes over the years. At one time it was obviously a prison, but at another it was used as an entrance point to the islands of Zanzibar and temporary quarrantine to ensure passers-through were disease-free. It was used as a hospital at one time for British soldiers, and recently has been the home to the Giant Aldabra Tortoises, which were gifted to the Sultan years and years ago. Actually, when I was studying here we worked closely with the tortoises and stayed out on Changuu for a week developing informational signs and presentations for the little visitor’s room at Changuu. I will do my best to get some pictures so that you can all see what I’m talking about.
Today, I’m also feeling quite overwhelmed and mildly lonely. It’s strange to write this, but I feel out of place here with everyone but my family, and with them, there is distance due to language.