Home » Africa » Uzi Island, Zanzibar

Uzi Island, Zanzibar

No, not that kind of Uzi!

Uzi Island lies of the southern tip of Zanzibar

Uzi Island lies of the southern tip of Zanzibar

 

It  is six kilometres in length, making it the second largest of the smaller islands which surrounds Unguja, Unguja is the main island of Zanzibar.

It is connected to Zanzibar, at low tide by a miles long causeway through mangroves. The road was built to alleviate the need for travel by boat.

It is connected to Zanzibar, at low tide, by a miles long causeway through mangroves. The road was built to alleviate the need for travel by boat.

We decided to go there because it has a unique economy. Strangely enough the economy is based on women collecting seaweed.

The women wade out into little lagoons at low tide and pick the seaweed.

The women wade out into little lagoons at low tide and pick the seaweed.

This is a days harvest. After drying it the sell it to a wholesaler, whi I suspect makes the largest profits. When I asked this lady if I could take her photo, she laughed and said yes. Then I asked her how much she was going to sell all this seaweed for. When she told me, I paid her that much as thanks for letting me take her picture.

This is a day’s harvest. After drying it the ladies sell it to a wholesaler, whom I suspect makes the largest profits. When I asked this lady if I could take her photo, she laughed and said yes. Then I asked her how much she was going to sell all this seaweed for. When she told me, I paid her that much as thanks for letting me take her picture.

The seaweed is used for everything from perfume to pet food. Like I said, it is the mainstay of the Uzi economy.

Of course the main town on the island, perhaps the only one, is called Uzi.

We always visit schools when we can. The school in Uzi was quite large.

We always visit schools when we can. The school in Uzi was quite large.

Large in student population that is. Look at how many students wre in one classroom the day we went. My little sister is burdened by having 30 kids in here classroom. Try 71!

Large in student population that is. Look at how many students were in one classroom the day we went. My little sister is burdened by having 30 kids in her classroom. Try 71!

Of course schoolbooks do not exist. But I picked up a notebook kept by a kid in the front of the class. I read his notes. I was amazed. I could not comprehend the math problems he had in it, but I could never even balance a checkbook. But when I went to the social studies section, he had an incredibly deep perception of democracy. I do not think American kids can define democracy like this until college. It gave me hope for if not the entire third world, at least Zanzibar.

20130130_258

 

 

The children were quite beautiful. Very well behaved.

The children were quite beautiful. Very well behaved.

The kids do not see many  Wazungu, plural of Mzungu, so we were a distraction to the classroom activities, and what kid isn’t happy about that? Mzungu is a word for white Europeans  all over East Africa. It is not meant in a derogatory way, it is just a greeting. It comes from the Kiswahili word zungua which means to wander or to  travel.  At least they do not call us what they used to…iloridaa enjekat. That term was inspired by the trousers worn by white Europeans and means, those who confine their farts!

They think Wazungus are mostly from Australia, Germany or England. They wanted to know where we were from. When we said America, they would yell out OBAMA!

Thanks for reading. Share on Facebook please. Make a comment you iloridaa enjekat!

Tags: , , ,

3 Responses so far.

  1. Leeann says:

    Thanks for the shoutout, but some days I feel like my 25 are 71…I bet the students of Uzi Island all speak the same language. Sounds like another amazing life experience. It’s so cool how you two always visit schools. I remember the school we visited while I was in Bocas. I still have the picture of their “library” on the wall in my class library to remind my students how fortunate they are. Love you both

  2. Mary Ann says:

    Just like Bocas, only neater.

  3. admin says:

    Love the kids

%d bloggers like this: