As our van rambled across the Zanzibar countryside, and cajoled through the hills adorned with tropical jungles, the busyness of community and the interaction of people in this simple lifestyle not only impressed me, but challenged and humbled me as I found myself awed by the rhythm of life within this raw country.
You see, being a consultant, I get caught up in always looking for ways to help, and to improve and in my haughty perception, I set off to Zanzibar viewing life through this faulty lens.
My second day there, I heard this loud voice in my head say, “Stop it! Can’t you just step back, observe, marvel in, taste, touch, feel, breathe in this land and its people?”
It was exactly the slap on the face I needed to take off my high and mighty coach’s attitude and become enthralled with this life.
I observed villages tucked away in small clearings, and clothes lines adorned with vividly colored clothing flapping in the breeze. I saw women laughing together as they swept the dirt floors and washed their dishes in tubs outside. I saw barefoot children gleefully laughing as they chased broken tire rims with sticks.
I saw men riding on bicycles, their backs harnessed with loads of sticks, off to market to with their goods. I saw resourceful, creative people selling whatever they could find and sometimes that was a pile of coconut husks along the side of the road, or 5 tomatoes stacked up neatly on a makeshift table under a torn up salvaged piece of plastic, or old pieces of bicycle rims and parts, bent and rusted.
Whatever they had in their hands to sell and present to the public they did knowing that selling one tomato or the pile of coconut husks could feed their family for a week.
I saw a spirited people, with eyes that sparkled, black shiny skin and beautiful white smiles and when they spoke they did so with an air of royalty and grace. I saw sharing and caring about one another. I saw relationships and community at the center of their lives.
We ordered breakfast one morning… five people joyfully traipsed to the kitchen to prepare our meal and they conversed and laughed and it was a fun, joyful time.
They did not have much materially, but they were oh so rich in the ways that matter most.
Yes, I was not only impressed, but challenged and humbled me as I found myself awed by the rhythm of life within this raw country. And I am choosing to live my life through the eyes of Zanzibar!