Let me be your duck

Patches of music swirl into the sky. It has rained. How unusual. In January. In Zanzibar.

The island has smoothly gone from X-Mas and New Year mode into Maulidi celebrations, as they here call the parties for the prophet’s birthday. We listen to the music from our rooftop apartment above Stone Town, a peculiar mix of benga flavour, reggae, mawlid singing and old communist party slogans.

As we write in our book „From Sansibar with Love“ – samahani, in German, folks:

Das Leben unter zwei zum Fundamentalismus neigenden
Einflüssen, dem Islam und dem Sozialismus, könnte man sich gar
schrecklich vorstellen, in Sansibar von heute jedoch ist daraus, von den
Plattenbauten über die schwarzen Livemusik-Bars bis zum Oppositionellen-
Straßentreff Jaws Corner, eine überraschend liebenswerte Melange
geworden – ein freundliches, respektvolles, stolzes, relativ sicheres, geselliges
und geschäftiges Miteinander. Frustrierend nur, dass alle gemeinsam
unter der korrupten Politik leiden.

Summarised, in English: In Zanzibar, communism and islamism – both prone to fall for extremes – fortunately have for now formed a mellow melange.

And we, Ahmed and me, are in the midst of it.



Christmas he decided to cook for us, alas, in lieu of a present.

A duck, bata in Swahili, it was to be. Ahmed went to the market in Darajani to fetch it. Alive, of course.

He returns with the killed, skinny animal in hand and says:

„Very strange, Andrea, the ducks on the market, they were not in a cage nor tied up. They were just running around the guy who would soon sell and kill them. Not even thinking of escaping. Their destiny in his hands.“IMG_9785

„Just like you and me“, I say.

„Let me be your duck.“

„But you are“, Ahmed replies, „you are.“