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MONSOON GARDEN

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ZANZIBAR

zanzibar environment

The culture and gastronomy, economy and trades of Zanzibar are there because of what nature has brought to this part of the world. The seasonal monsoons brought traders in search of spices, ivory from the mainland and ambergris. The Zanzibaris grow spices and are adept fisherman. You can see them building dhows, not to be seen building dhows by tourists, but building dhows because that is how they transport things around the archipelago and to the mainland, as they always have. The dhows are handbuilt with no sign of machine tool - but a smouldering fire to turn the planks of wood in until they are twisted to form the perfect curve in the assembly of a hull. They do not need to learn new ways to do things as they still know how to do things.

Alongside the men intent on their dhow building women work on the intertidal reaches where they farm seaweed for export to Asia and treat seagrass to be woven into mats for flooring and to make baskets. Clam gatherers comb the same shore for sweet pickings.