The past three weeks have been nothing short of a whirlwind. I find that without a moment to think or reflect, I am able to move through my days mechanically. This is perhaps a good thing– nostalgia can be debilitating, don’t you think?
My departure from the University of Florida and Gainesville was characterized by haste, mostly. It is likely that in the weeks and months to come, the aftertaste of the bittersweet coating of my memories will lead to pangs of sentimentality. Right now, I am not sure what I feel. My current state can only be described as a drowsy stupor. I am neither here nor there.
I am in the midst of preparation for my departure . Today is May 4th, which means there are 21 more days until I move to East Africa. I will arrive in Dar es Salaam after a roughly 25 hour flight with stops in Dulles, Zürich, and Nairobi. I will land at 8:10 PM, and will then go through customs, get a visitor’s visa, and then claim my bags. Then the plan is to be picked up at the airport by my hotel shuttle service for the night, and try to get some rest. The 27th and 28th, which are a Thursday and Friday, I hope to spend in the city, perhaps by meeting up with a couple of fellow Rotary scholars and friends. Then on Friday or Saturday, I will take the ferry-boat from Dar to Zanzibar. I’ve heard the port in Zanzibar is slightly overwhelming, so I have tried to brace myself. Luckily for me, another friend, who was introduced to me by Dr. Sultan, Naheed Ahmed will be meeting me. She is doing her master’s research in Zanzibar as a Boren Scholar and has lived on the island since January. I am beyond grateful for her company! In Zanzibar, I have arranged to do a homestay at a guesthouse run by a man called Baba Suhad (Baba means father in Swahili). Jacquelyn Tolliver, my Rotary Scholar predecessor in Zanz recommended him to me, saying that he was kind and helpful. I will likely move my things into my new room upon arrival… then I will begin my journey. My first order of business will be to gain admission to the Institute of Swahili and Foreign Languages. We will see how that goes.
There is a lot to be said, but I am lacking the coherence to express myself at this moment. So, I will leave you with a link to a deliciously written article from the Washington Post entitled “At Home in Zanzibar.” It’s a titillating piece for those of us who are afflicted with wanderlust.