Sunday, November 18, 2012

Daily Epics: Living in Nungwi

Helping to put a Dhow in the water
 I'm too busy net fishing in dugout canoes to be writing a blog! However worry not, I'll give you a few tastes of the moments which make Zanzibar one of the most incredible places on Earth.

All day, every day, the beachfront boat workshops fill the air with a symphony of hammering and woodcutting. Yet this week the music change dramatically from hammering to grunts and "Pull!" as I got to take part in launching a Dhow (in Swahili Dau) with 50 other local boys and men, hauling hard on the ropes as the keel rolled over logs into the sea. Though this wasn't a boat I worked on, I still was infiltrated with the pride of being a part of the community which builds such beautiful boats. 

Two Mtumbwis, or dugout canoe without an outrigger.

Mponda finishing a model Dhow
 Then I've been net fishing with a group of locals, who own dugout canoes called Mtumbwis, made from single mango trees. We take two of the canoes and make a huge circle with nets, as 15 or so of us smack the water with sticks to scare an assortment of reef fish into the nets. What an intense and rewarding job.

Finally, we are finishing our models and now i'm ready for the big boats (See a picture of the finished Ngalawa model at sail in the next post!). I could spend many life times here and know little compared to the many-generation craftsmanship here in the Nungwi boat yard. Yet being a part of it all is wonderful enough. Last night I got to play goatskin, coconut palm drums by a fire with many local and non-local friends. What a celebration it was! Seriously, we're at the ocean, what's not to celebrate?

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