Spicy Learning in Zanzibar

1. We already knew some Swahili, a language spoken in Eastern Africa!  “Hakuna Matata” truly means “No Worries” in Swahili.  The Lion King uses other Swahili words: Simba means lion, Rafiki means friend, and Pumba means foolish one.

2. “Thank you very much” in Swahili is “asante sana.”  Sound familiar?  It’s the beginning lyrics to Rafiki’s song “Asante sana, squash banana.”  Yes, this is how we remember it.

3. Lion King’s plotline has many possible sources (some say Hamlet), but simply analyzed it is based on facts of nature.  Male lions fight for dominance and will kick younger males out.  The banished younger males fend for themselves and then come back to the pride when they’re old enough to fight for dominance.

Ok, enough about the Lion King.  But it’s hard not to think about it in Eastern Africa!

4. When your husband says the three-day train ride through Africa is going to be a little rough, he means the 3-day train ride will be a nightmare.  Get a jug of Purell and beef up your prescriptions.  You’re in for a ride.

5. Never underestimate the smile-and-wave.

6. Zanzibar is an archipelago off the coast of Tanzania and, while technically part of the country, it operates and considers itself separate (you have to show your passport and vaccinations card to be allowed in). 

7. Zanzibar is 99% Muslim and was one of the ancient trade islands that connected Africa with Arabia, India, and the Far East.  These islands are often called the Spice Islands and rightly so.

A stall at Stone Town's spice market

A stall at Stone Town's spice market

8. Dar es Salaam, the largest city in Tanzania, is half Christian, half Muslim and both sides live very peacefully together.  Dar es Salaam is Arabic and literally translates to “the home of peace.”

9. When stung by a jellyfish, rub sand on it (don’t ask how Blakely learned this).

10. When cutting your own hair, always cut less than you think you should (don’t ask how Blakely learned this either).

That's What We Did in Zanzibar.  Click Here to read What We Did!