...is the most incredible place! I'll try not to make this the LONGEST post EVER but there's so much to say!!!
School let out on wednesday because of Easter and Muhammad's Birthday so Bev and I took
off Thursday morning for Zanzibar. After almost an entire day of traveling we arrived that evening at our "hotel" (and I use the term loosely) It was unbelievably hot, the nightguard/desk guy was undoubtedly intoxicated and we were woken at 5 am by the call to prayer from the mosque next door (In case you've never lived next door to a mosque, it's very, very LOUD).
Needless to say we checked out in the morning and wound up at the amazing Haven Guest House where the owner/manager greeted us like we were old friends and proceeded to arrange the rest of our stay in Zanzibar-a spice tour and a trip up the coast-all at incredibly good prices.
We left straight off for the spice tour. Zanzibar is called the spice island and there are all kinds of spices, nutmeg, ginger, vanilla, cinnamon, turmeric, lemongrass, and OH the CLOVES! growing wild all over the island. The air is just rich with them! The place we visited was more of a farm and our tour guide was pretty funny, well, at least his english was pretty funny...
It was so strange to suddenly be thrust into a group of so many wazungu (white people). We're a bit of an oddity in Morogoro but Zanzibar is sort of a holiday hotspot for a lot of Europeans and since we were doing kind of touristy stuff we met a lot of them. It was an interesting time to be traveling though as we met up with a lot of people from different places who are living and working in TZ and on break for the holidays. I have found that it is absolutely impossible to meet boring people in Africa. Everyone we met had some incredible story about where they were from and why they were here: The american guys working with street kids in Dar-Es-Salaam, The Austrian girl who is here checking up on a million different projects for a group of philanthropists back home, The young scottish couple who are having a few days rest after climbing Kilimanjaro, The polish guy (in the shortest short shorts ever seen on a man) who is teaching in Mbeya and whose grandmother thinks he's a "bloody idiot and won't he just stop messing around and come home and get married already," and our new friend Shilpi, the Indian-Dutch-German girl who is in Arusha working with some sort of agriculture analysis company.
One of the most surprising things was how interested people were in Jesus! Zanzibar has a long and deeply rooted Islamic tradition and I have been told over and over again how difficult it is to come here and do any sort of missionary work but it seemed like everyone
we met, taxi drivers, waiters, our boat captain on our snorkel trip, the moment they found out we were christians, wanted to know how they could become christians as well...time and time again, we heard how people believed that what we were saying was true, that they were not fulfilled with Islam that they knew they were stuck with their sin and had no hope and that they knew and believed that Jesus was the answer, that he had died for them and wanted to forgive them BUT if they would dare to seek out a pastor or walk into a church they were sure to be beaten or even killed. It was at once encouraging and devastating...so many people eager to believe but trapped by fear. Pray that doors will open for this island, that God will give people courage to come to him and protection when they do.
We spent three nights in Nungwi, a beautiful beach town on the north coast. We walked out on to the beach the first morning there and laughed at all the crazy tourists roasting themselves in the sun, "a white-people barbecue!" we said... and then proceeded to get burned ourselves... ah enter humility... On our third day there we booked a snorkel trip with the honorable Captain Supa (sounds like super) It was awesome until we actually got in the water where we encountered a gazillion tiny jellyfish! Their stings aren't dangerous but they aren't pleasant either! I only stayed in the water maybe ten minutes and then decided "I've been snorkeling before and this really isn't fun anymore" and crept up to the roof of the boat for a little nap in the sun with a few of the passengers and most of the crew!
We spent the last day in Stonetown shopping and meeting up with the waiter we had met in Nungwi. He decided to become a christian and we prayed with him ON Easter Sunday. Pray fro Stefan as he's now hoping to get some support to come to a discipleship school that we have at the base in Morogoro (like the one I did in England).
All in all it was an incredible time. YWAM has talked about opening a base on Zanzibar and I would do some serious talking with God about that. It would be a great way to spend some time!