Photos from the Edge of the Earth

Forodhani Gardens is an outdoor grill on the water's edge that comes alive every night around 5pm. The many stands offer a wide array of grilled seafood, breads, and snacks. A favorite combination is always the Zanzibar "pizza"-- grilled dough with egg, mayonnaise, and vegetable or meat filling, and fresh cane juice.

This is a photo of my uncle and one of the oldest women in Zanzibar. She is 96 years old, and survived through the Zanzibar revolution when hundreds of Arab and Indian people were violently attacked and forced to leave the islands. She speaks Hindi, Gujarati, and Swahili beautifully and is often seen sitting near her family's shop near Jaw's Corner.

The slave monument at St. Monica's Anglican church which was built on top of the former slave market in Zanzibar. It is mesmerizing and terrifying, and is a powerful reminder of both human cruelty and dignity.

These beads were used to trade for slaves. Beads. That traded for human beings.

The caption to this image was "Youngsters like this boy fetched a very high price, for when trained he can remain in the service to his master for many years. One of his legs is tied to a log that provides maximum security."

Water so luminous.

The view from the lighthouse on Chumbe Island, part of the Zanzibar archipelago off of the coast of Tanzania in East Africa. Chumbe is home to an award-winning eco-lodge and the most pristine shallow coral reef in the Indian Ocean. Half of its coastline is protected from fishing, so the sealife swims up to the water's edge. When I was there I saw an entire school of fish, an eel, and a reef shark within 50 feet of the shoreline.

My sister Najat making bhajia

Bhajia-- a savory fritter made from besan (chick pea) flour. Sometimes vegetables are mixed into the batter, sometimes it is served plain, it is always delicious. Originating from India, they always makes me feel at home.

Zanzibar Urojo-- a dish originating in western India which has taken a Zanzibari twist. Urojo, often called Mix, is a savory mango and turmeric soup with boiled potatoes, fritters made from chick pea flour (called bhajia), battered and fried mashed potato balls (called catchori), fried cassava flakes, and fresh coconut chutney. This urojo was homemade, special for Ramadhan.

One of our nightly feasts to break the fast during the month of Ramadhan. We ate all kinds of food like mkate wa maji, a savory eggy crape-like bread, kaimate, sweet fried balls of dough in a sugar syrup, Ramadan noodles, all types of bhajia, fig leaves, katchumbari salad, pilau rice, dates, and spiced chai with milk, along with so many other dishes. One of the best things about Ramadhan is that all of the neighbors bring a dish over, and we give them a dish in return, so there is always a great variety of food!

Aziza, one of my neighbors, loves to take my phone and keys from me

Chatting away with one of her many fiancees (wachumba).

The view from a sandbank just minutes from the Zanzibar coast. Ideal for picnics, parties, and even weddings.

Jane Goodall, the famed primatologist of eastern Tanzania's Gombe National Park came to the State University of Zanzibar to give a talk. She made such a compelling speech. I was incredibly lucky to have met her.

This is oud-- an intensely fragrant incense. It is so heavily scented that even when just sitting wrapped up in paper it soaks everything around it in its deep aroma. Oud comes from the agarwood tree when it is infected by a particular fungus and is forced to secrete an oil in defense. The highest grade oud can actually go for $13,000 per pound of oil. This oud was given to me by a shop keeper in Stone Town.


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