No photos today but some pictures in my mind.
I miss the roof terrace at Jambo House, the sound of sweeping in the morning, the ever-present washing on the rooves and the children in their rags and veils wanting high fives. And the beautiful voice of the muezzin from the old mosque.
Instead I get the birds, swallows or swifts,wheeling over the water in front of the veranda in gusts at dawn and sunset and the hurly burly of the harbour.
I hear Jambo, Hello, a hundred times a day. People are friendly and I don’t get too hassled. They call me Mama and sometimes Queen. A man from a shop where I did not buy, even complimented me on the Kikoi, or cloth skirt, that I bought more cheaply from a stall.
I love the bright, clashing colours
of the clothes people wear. Some of the Muslim men wear little white pillbox hats called Kofia that recall old connections with Oman and the Yemen. Even the women in black robes have colourful veils or gold or silver sequins and look beautiful. Outside of their homes they seem to have a degree of freedom and stop and chat to the menfolk, but traditionally inside the homes men and women had separate quarters.
The men play “Bao la Kiswahili” a form of Mancala, the game that resembles Backgammon, but here it has four rows of eight pits. Each player has 32 seeds or stones and it requires a mathematical mind. They also play Carrom, which is a bit like pool but with counters on a board.
I wander about, taking meals and drinks at different places. I sit under the ancient almond tree in the square. This morning I lay on a log under a tree looking out on a flat horizon of sea, sand and mangrove trees, all in shades of blue, blue/grey and grey/green. Donkeys wander past which seem to have no purpose or owners while others carry people, coral stones or Coca Cola crates. Sudden smells of donkey dung or raw fish but mainly sea breezes.
I’m living a lazy life two degrees south of the Equator. There’s dust and sand on my feet and in my eyes. Tomorrow I may take a boat to Manda Island – or maybe not.