Five months ago we entered Frankfurt airport together with fourteen other volunteers imagining we were about to embark on the most exciting year of our lives. We, Teresa and Julia, are the two current “weltwärts” volunteers working at SEA until August 2018. Already that day when we left our homes in Germany feels very far away. The uncertainties and fears with which we entered Tanzania have disappeared and we’ve developed a daily routine on the other side of the equator.
But what is this “weltwärts” program that enabled us, along with about 3500 young German volunteers to experience a whole year in a far away country?
SEA launches our on-line map of Stone Town galleries, boutiques, arts and crafts sellers
Arts in Zanzibar
Zanzibar has a rich chest of artistic expression and practice. From its architecture to fine art to the many authentic and beautiful craftworks. Many of the artists, as in other places, gravitate to the capital city, and the same holds here.
But where do you, as a visitor, or somebody living here, find out about where to see artworks, visit artists or purchase craftworks? Nowadays the average visitor will roam the internet first, but try that for Zanzibar and you will miss out on a vast number of fascinating people, projects and places.
By the end of 20th century the Zanzibar Government had taken control of the fabric market on the island. As a result, there were only three colours available. But for the women of the Suleiman family that wasn’t enough. They tried to find a way to make the fabrics more unique. For generations the women of the family had made the delicate ornaments for Kofia and Kanzu (traditional Islamic hat and dress for men). The appliqué technique proved suitable to transfer those fine patterns onto bigger pieces of fabric. Saada Abdullah Suleiman and her mother taught themselves to create and realize various designs.
A guest article by Patricia Wehr, volunteer at Renewable Energy Zanzibar association (REZA)
Zanzibar – located in the Indian Ocean near the equator the islands warm climate invites hundreds of tourists from all over the world every year to enjoy the island’s beauty. With an average of almost 8 hours of sun a day it seems not only easy to enjoy seeing the sunbeams breaking in the clear, turquoise blue water on the beach, but also to use the sun and its solar power as a source of renewable energy. But why do so many residents still not have access to solar energy, even though it would be an inexpensive and sustainable alternative to the unhealthy kerosine lamps? How has the solar energy sector on Zanzibar developed; what has already been achieved; which difficulties it has to cope with and why solar energy on Zanzibar is more than just a business – are the questions I had in mind when I joined REZA as a volunteer earlier this year.
On our way to the BlueBikes-office we watched the grey clouds gathering above Stone Town. “Are you sure we won’t get soaked on our bike tour today?” we asked Yusuf, the leader of BlueBikes who was going to guide us to a Spice Farm by bike that day. By the time we were ready to go the rain clattered down and Stone Town’s narrow streets turned into streams, but Yusuf was confident. “Don’t worry it won’t take long until the rain stops and then we can start our tour.”
“Can I wrap this up to give it to my mom as a present?”, asked one of the 17 young creatives who came to visit Cultural Arts Centre last week, after he had finished making a beautiful little notebook. Supervised by the Cultural Arts Centre team, the SEA team and some of their teachers, the lively group of 5- to 10-year-olds from South East Coast International School Zanzibar made notebooks and Burudika handmade soaps throughout the whole morning. Both of the activities use re-cycled and up-cycled materials.
One week ago: We were sitting in the Cultural Arts Centre when Tourguide Farid followed by a group of tourists entered the gallery. Today he didn’t only have interesting facts about the Arts Centre, but also told us about his self-organised Bread, or Mikate (Kiswahili for Bread) Party which should take place at the 8th of October. We were cordially invited. After handing us a flyer he continued his tour and dissappeard among the alleys of Stone Town.