Normally, sounds atop the roof of Chavda Hotel include squawking crows, rumbling motorbikes, and jangling church bells from Minara Miwili nextdoor. The wind also rattles silverware and rustles tablecloths on especially blustery days. Sitting at a rooftop table, we earned wi-fi with purchase of chipsi and chai. Waitstaff tolerated our lengthy visits because we made them laugh, and we said not Hello but Hamjambo. Proper greetings matter.
Proper goodbyes also matter. This is part of why hundreds of Muslim Zanzibaris gathered at a mosque near the market that day. They wished to pray together and feel a sense of community after a deadly disaster. They wished to say goodbye. Just two days before the beginning of Ramadhan, a massive ferry sank near Chumbe island. The international media reported “at least 68” dead. However, Mnazi Mmoja soccer field and Maisara became an impromptu morgue for suspiciously more than 68 bodies. Families nervously entered tents to look for missing loved ones. Anyone unable to make it to Mnazi Mmoja watched the local news, on which–quite shocking to view–video panned over drowned faces hourly. Wailing pierced the darkness that night.
Soon, I am going to travel to Zanzibar and a few months after, Namibia. As a born-and-raised American, I had to update some vaccines so my body doesn’t freak out (as severely) when I eat unwashed fruit. C’mon, body, pick your battles. Anyway, in this day and age I did this by asking Google Maps where the closest travel clinic was…and there, I went.
I made an appointment with my Google-recommended destination, and got some preliminary blood work done back in early April. I was grateful for the doctor who usually works about an hour away. He stopped by the Loop office just for my one appointment. Don’t get me wrong, my gratitude lives on. However, my respect for the doctor quickly died.