I've been living in a town called Bububu in Zanzibar. I eat a lot of rice and chapati and have a friend with a pet monkey. My Swahili is rapidly improving and, though I wish I could report having received a tan, this is a strict Muslim country and my legs and shoulders must be covered at all times. I spent some time in mainland Tanzania and saw some giraffes, elephants, zebras and shit, but mostly I've been around Zanzibar and sitting by the side of the only road in bububu and eating the best mangoes ever.
I've involved myself in a few cool projects, and wish to take this opportunity to plug my favorite one. I have been helping out a women's co-op in Stonetown called Mkombozi. They formed a few months ago after breaking off from the main giant women's co-op in town that is run by a guy who more-or-less never paid them. Anyway, now they are trying to sell their pillows on their own.
By forming their own co-op, the women hope to make enough money to stabilize their lives and the lives of their children. They share profits equally, and are found every day working barefoot in the sunlight at the doorway of the Cultural Arts Center in Stonetown, Zanzibar. After only four months of working together, Fatma Zaid, a handicapped member of the co-op, has been able to afford to put cement floors into her home, making it much easier for her to get around on her crutches.
So if anyone likes pillows, has grandma's birthday coming up, or just wants to be supportive, check out their auction on eBay. Their stuff is pretty amazing.
By Danielle Sobol