Thursday, 10 September 2009

Day 8. Resting in Kilwa

Today is rest day, a time to reflect, and sit by the ocean. Although I’m not a fan of beach life, this is pretty good, and it’s a perfect way to recharge before the next few days of travelling. I get up early and watch the sunrise, I am joined by a man who tells me he is a soldier guarding the beach, we exchange pleasantries and for some reason he thanks me for telling him my name, I’m not sure why. At 7 he leaves, I assume it’s the end of his night shift, he tells me to be careful on the beach, careful of the people from the town who walk along here during the day. I guess crime maybe a problem, there’s a marked difference between this environment to that of the town and the villages we’ve been visiting in the last few days. This is a tourist place, with tourist prices. Over the past week I have been very surprised by the disparity of cost it’s as if there is a two tier system, I’m struggling to understand how it works. It has not been cheap, yet a lot of the people earn very little. As a rough gauge, I paid for dinner for 6 people in Dar at a posh restaurant and it cost me around $100, and in Kikole the average yearly wage is around $250, it doesn’t add up.

So I sit on the beach all day there’s no trouble, I watch local men sift the beach for shellfish, I am passed by a group of girls singing, a group of boys with sticks doing what boys with sticks do. A few people have come to sell their wares, some brightly coloured woven mats and small carvings. Yes today I am a tourist, it’s a far cry from the past week.

I am struggling to absorb my experiences, I have recorded many hours of material, and when I get home I will start condensing, sifting, chopping, carving, sculpting and making sense of it all and then sharing this journey as a radio programme, I feel heavy with responsibility but excited at the prospect of being able to get creative.