Salaam alaikum, readers!
Sorry for the overall lack of depth to my blog posts thus far, but apparently there is no rest nor time to blog for the weary. :/
Moving in with an Arab-Swahili family might be the most intriguing thing I have ever experienced. My family is the best. They are all friendly and helpful. They are also perfect targets to practice my Kiswahili on. My host father’s family is originally from Oman and they came to Zanzibar in the late 19th century. The family is very large; my host dad and mom have 10 children and 26 grandchildren! The first day of the homestay nearly every one of them was at the house, it seemed. My host sister just had a baby 10 days ago, and in the Islamic tradition the mother stays in the house with the child for 40 days. A former SIT student completed a project on that practice, so hopefully I will get the chance to read about the process sometime within the next few days.
The food is amazing! Arab, Mediterranean, and Swahili food have met in our house to make the BEST food on the planet, in my opinion. The food is perfectly spicy and perfectly savory. Along with the food, every evening the family burns incense which fills the house with wonderful scents (and it clears out those pesky mosquitoes). The house is HUGE with 3 stories. On the first floor, the family runs a small shop that sells eggs, milk, chicken, and other small food items. The women live on the second floor which has two huge open windows to a courtyard. On the third floor, the men live alongside the chickens and pigeons. Every night, Baba has his friends over for healthy discussion ranging from UFO’s to American politics. He believes strongly in Mitt Romney, so it is my goal to prove to him that he is a crook and would be a bad choice for America.
I am slowly making developments in my Swahili conversation skills. My teacher is “positive” that I will be nearly fluent by the time I leave Zanzibar. One can only hope.
Be on the lookout for a blog about Chumbe Island Coral Park which I visited today.