Every moment, every day, every week is filled with so much new information, unexplored adventures
and many many captivating moments.
Of course, moments of this week feel amongst those qualifications.
After being on the island for over a month now,
there are still unchartered areas in which my eyes have yet to wonder.
Tuesday afternoon, I ventured down into Utende which is on the southeast side of Mafia Island.
A pikipiki speedily brought me there as it's about 11 km away from my home.
At times, the roads seem as if they're endless.
Leading further and further into the forest that accompanies all in which inhabits this island.
Each turn still makes me more giddy than the last.
As these are the moments more so than others that I find myself with a face wide smile because
yes, this is where I am living, this is my "commute."
Utende is a beautiful tucked away village that in the past few years has become a tourist destination where those certified or looking to be certified divers pay far too much money to stay in resorts
within the Mafia Island Marine Park.
Once entering the Marine Park gates, one immediately understands why.
There is a tiny village amongst the roads of the Marine Park, to the right and left sides you see mangrove homes, roadside stores and restaurants, children playing under trees.
Life does not change in Utende just because there are an abundance of tourists, it's just more of an opportunity for the young African youth to see a diversity of nationalities and ethnicities.
Once I got into Utende, my mouth literally dropped as I arrived as the bright daylight was turning
into a golden evening light.
I walked onto the sand, took off my shoes and with each step dug my toes down as far as they can go
as I was in complete awe at that in front of me.
It literally was beyond anything I've seen.
The photographs in the Tanzania travel books did not do this place any justice.
White beaches, covered swinging cots to lay out, wooden boats (ferries) of people wearing bright colors being escorted to and from the coastlines, palm trees swaying with the breeze, boats with the Tanzanian flag waving proudly about, water changing from turquoise to bright blue depending on the depths below all the while the sun was shinning so perfectly with its evening golden light.
I was picked up by a boat of new friends, all but one I had just met.
We ventured across the waters to an even smaller island called Chole Island where I spent the evening celebrating the existence of a new friend, sharing everything from understandings to philosophies to random ideas with another and purely enjoying the company right in front on me.
In all honestly, for the first time in awhile, I felt like I was amongst people that understood me
without having to use too many words.
The evening ended with singing happy birthday, eating Tanzanian homemade birthday cake, taking the boat back across the waters in the black of night and spending a bajij ride home discussing the power of photography and videography.
And the Utende and Chole Island moments continue….
A few days later, back down to Utende for an afternoon in the Tanzanian sun.
Snorkeling along the coastline, afternoon bea and tangawizi, acro yoga, boat rides, music,
more boat and pikipiki rides.
And the Utende and Chole Island moments continue….
I woke up early Saturday morning, had breakfast with two of my teaching mates.
About an hour later, we met up with all the international and local volunteers and several local teachers.
Back down to Utende.
This time, taking a local wooden boat filled with teachers both local and from afar over to Chole Island.
We all got out and explored the delightfully quaint island where we walked about seeing dozens of bats sleeping in trees, forestry for days, children playing in their front yards excited to see visitors, talking to local shop owners and having our teachers literally hug a tree to see how old it was!
Back in the boat.
This time we ventured to a very small island in the middle of the Indian Ocean
as the tide was low enough to have such structure.
The boat anchored, a small white shaded cover was constructed and a picnic lunch was served.
Sitting in the white sand, looking out at the crystal blue and turquoise waters, I was in complete awe.
And in the boat we go.
This time heading even further into the depths of the Indian Ocean arriving at a large coral rock structure.
We anchored and spent several hours snorkeling, swimming, laughing
and simply enjoying being in the womb of mother nature.
The bright colors of the day began to shift into the golden colors of the evening and our wooden boat headed back to the Utende shoreline.
Simple as that.
Absolutely incredible as that described above and the photographs below.
I am in love.
Love with all that exists.
Love with life.
Love with this island.
So much love.
The photos below are a culmination of my three visits to Utende and Chole last week. Each adventure in itself was beyond incredible and as always I am so humble to share these photos and moments with you!
Jambo from Tanzania:
Living & Teaching abroad in Mafia Island, Tanzania
In June of 2012.... a dream came true.
I was accepted into a WorldTeach program to teach English in Tanzania on Mafia Island. In late December of 2012, I embarked on a 3 month journey to the motherland! Enjoy this blog as it was designed to share my photographs and adventures while living and teaching
on Mafia Island, Tanzania.