This blue marble

– and yet it spins

On seaweed and female strength

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seaweedfarmIn Paje there is a seaweed plantation, just like on Nusa Lembongan off Bali. Here the seaweed is grown on ropes tied to poles and left dry with the receding tide, twice a day.

The seaweed plantations on Zanzibar is managed by the women of the village, who also fish with nets from the shore. Swahili women are an interesting combination of strength, pride, and demureness. They mostly walk with a slow swing, in no hurry, almost as if they were deep in thought. When they smile at a man they look down, as if they harbor a secret. I sometimes hear them laugh, but their behavior around men certainly is very soft, submissive, and demure. And yet I am convinced that if anyone tries to cross a Swahili woman they will most likely not survive to tell the tale.

Yesterday I went to Jaqueline’s for another massage. She told me about her two kids and their lives in Kenya with their aunt. Jaqueline is here on Zanzibar all alone, for work. She is proud of herself, and made a point of how she no longer has a husband and gets no help from her family besides lodging for her children; that she makes everything else work by herself. Jaqueline is a woman even I would not dare to cross.

(Zanzibar, Tanzania; August 2017)

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