Saturday, June 28, 2014


First, I want to thank Coral Rock Resort for helping UA in Zanzibar during a crisis situation. You guys rock.

My last day in Zanzibar is the first day of Ramadan. Last night was a big party - everyone was up late. Kids played and girls wore party dresses. One of the things I find so interesting here is the issue of head covering for Muslim women. it seems to be somewhat optional. Most women cover, but not all, and those that cover don't cover all the time. Girls typically only cover as part of a school uniform, but not when they're playing. Some girls under marriageable age don't cover at all, period. Young women tend to remove their coverings at bars and late night parties. Yes, bars. People say this is a Muslim country, but it's really Swahili fusion, with strong influences from mainland Tanzania and Kenya, India, Europe, and the Middle East. African women wore headwraps long before Islam arrived, so head covering rules (I think) follow the culture more than the religion. Even so, I have only once seen a woman asked to cover herself, and that was when a wife saw her husband checking out an American woman in a very modest sleeveless dress. From where I'm sitting, I can see some women on the beach, covered and uncovered. So interesting. I'd like to learn more, but I need to find a culturally-appropriate way to ask by next year.

I'm surprised by the number of expats and non-Muslims observing Ramadan (or trying to).

I've learned so much here, and I have a long list of changes and improvements for next year. Still, I'm please overall with our first year. We had many successes and only a few serious issues. Nothing I couldn't handle, but I'll be more prepared for next year. And there will be a next year.

Time to pack and go home. See y'all Stateside.

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