Good morning y’all! (I miss hearing y’all, this is the first time I’ve been the most southern person in a group ever…)
In the past week we’ve gone from Kilimanjaro to Dar Es Salaam to Zanzibar! In Dar we visited former slave trade routes, the chapel that David Livingstone’s body was placed in before it was taken back to Europe, the ruins of the first ever mosque, and the oldest church in Tanzania, and the National Museum.
If the people didn’t speak Swahili I’m telling you I would have a hard time remembering I’m still in Tanzania. The architecture is Arabic, the streets look like they do in Italy, and the markets closely resemble those in Israel. I suppose maybe it does look Tanzanian and I’m just unintentionally pulling from past experiences. Who knows. So far, we’ve shopped in the souvenir sellers tiny nooks all along the alleys, seen where Freddie Mercury was born (he was born here like what?!), gone to the final resting place of David Livingstone before his body was shipped across the pond (they really love good ol’ Dave), and walked through the slave-trading-market-made-Catholic-Church. That one was particularly interesting because I guess it was an effective way to stop illegal trade, but can you imagine going to a church where the priest’s pulpit marks the spot of the whipping post? I’ve always wanted to learn more about the slave trade that took place in East Africa so I’m glad I got to see the memorials and read about what took place.
We don’t learn about East African slave trade in school. I think that’s partly because the people that came from East Africa didn’t get transported to Europe and the New World, but to the Middle East and India. All that’s taught in grade school is the Middle Passage, but I really believe there should be a stronger focus on the autrocities that the African people were forced to endure. Imagine with me for a moment. You and your family are violently kidnapped from your home in the dead of night and are forced into rusty chains with logs tied to your neck as restraint. You, your friends, and your family are made to walk, maybe as far as 500 miles to the coast. You watch your beloved and respected elders and young ones die along the way. When you finally reach the coast, you’re placed in a dark, dank, foul small room with up to 75 people where you’re cramped inside for days without food or water. Once finally taken out, if you haven’t already suffocated or starved, you were then whipped to see your strength. If you cried either your price would go down or you would be killed for your weakness. You’ll likely be separated from your family, never to see them again. After you’re bought, I don’t know where you’ll go and you don’t either. Thus is the beginning of your life as a slave.
So far Zanzibar has been absolutely wonderful because it’s less about shoving Swahili down our throats and more about understanding the history and culture of the Tanzanian people. Also we have real showers and air conditioning and food that doesn’t include rice and greens and I don’t know how I lived without those things for a full month. The work was hard but our reward has been plentiful.
I’ll try to post a little more frequently so I don’t have so much to catch you up on next time! As always, thanks for praying for me and keeping up with my travels. You’re awesome.