A lightness within

On Saturday afternoon I find myself laying on the white sands of Coco Beach in Dar es Salaam. People watching. Amazed by how cautious Tanzanians are when touching the waters of the warm Indian Ocean. They enjoy the shallowness of the ocean; walking around the periphery where the shore and the ocean meet. It seems as if they feel afraid of it, or maybe they just can’t swim. To me the beach has always been home but in Africa the beach wasn’t always a safe place. For Africans, the sea was unexplored, unknown and dangerous.

Tanzanians are rural people, for centuries they evolved within Africa’s interior walls and vast savannas. Nomads and farmers living in survival mode, always fighting the bright, hot yellow ball on top of their heads. Africa is a place where animals are sacred, where owning cattle means wealth, prestige and power. Culture defines Africa. 

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Chinchorro e’ yuca
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Yuca frita con pique de tomate y mango

In Dar, the street is where life happens. Small chinchorros open early in the morning, the smell of fried kamalis tempt you, and the “Karibu”, “Mambo”, “Poa” define the theme of the day. Action is everywhere, bajajis are trying to avoid the moon craters of the road, women are carrying buckets of water on top of their heads and wood crafters are making furniture with their resilient hands. The morning reveals a slow moving culture with a lightness within.

-Gerardo

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