Zanzibar-Climb a coconut tree

Zanzibar-Climb a coconut tree

Day Eight:
Today we spend the day at the house with Fatima and learnt such a lot, it was a full day. She bought mini loaves of bread and I asked if I could buy 2 from her, they are so cute. I have not seen anywhere loaves of bread, except the mini loaves today. We try and communicate with Fatima in sign language and in the little English that she understands; otherwise she just smiles and nods. She also bought small fish and cooked up one the local Zanzibarian way for me to eat. It was delicious! I asked her that when she buys again, she must call me. She tells me that it is very early in the morning; I told her it was fine that she could come and wake me.


While we were sitting on the beach we saw a local come towards us on his bicycle with a huge fish. He cut it open and cleaned it, and then washed it in the sea. All the birds were around him trying to get a bite to eat. Next to our friend’s place is a guest house where they serve the catch of the day daily. It was so interesting to sit and watch him prepare the fish, I just could not believe that he washed it in the sea where everyone swims.

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I asked Fatima that when he climbs the tree to collect the coconuts, she must call me as I wanted to watch. Today was the day he was going to get the coconuts, so we sat and watched how skilfully and easy he did this task. It looked so simple and in no time he was up in the tree, cutting coconuts and letting them drop to the ground. Then he climbed down and broke open a coconut for each of us, put a straw in and we drank the fresh milk. It was delicious and cold.

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I told him I also wanted to climb the coconut tree, and he just shook his head. At first he did not understand and I think he thought I had put rum in my coconut drink. I insisted I really wanted to try and climb the tree. He just laughed at me, I was a girl and secondly, I had only my costume and sarong around me. He did not think it was a good plan. But this was something I really wanted to do. I was standing next to the patio where the coconut tree was growing. The tree was also growing at a slant, which I thought would be much easier to climb, as when I get on I would already be a distance up on the tree. So he put the rope around my feet and I jumped on the tree. Then I could not move, so I jumped off again. He showed me how I must jump and where the rope on my feet must be, so I tried it again. Then I tried to climb the tree with the rope on my feet. I must be honest, I am not actually an adventure type of person, neither am I very slim. I did gymnastics when I was in Grade 5, and everyone always laughs at me, when my reply to anything I want to try is “I did gymnastics”. Ok, so that was years ago, and I had never climbed trees when I was a child. But there I was convinced I could do this. I jumped once on the tree, held on and tried to jump up higher on the tree, next minute my hands couldn’t grip the tree and I swung around, still holding on for dear life. The other side of the tree where I had swung was now nowhere near the patio platform and the distance to the ground was far. I was holding on for dear life, and not sure what to do. The next minute I had lost my grip, and as I was falling he quickly ran to break my fall, realizing he was not allowed to touch a girl, he released me and I fell smack into the hard ground. We were all laughing, as I lay there with my sarong flown wide open. Fatima was crying from laughter, he was crying from laughter and all the staff from the guest house next door were looking out the window laughing. No one could believe I tried to climb a coconut tree, a white girl with a sarong. We laughed so much, and I was so fortunate to not have broken my foot. I know I won’t try that again!


Fatima also gave us a fan from the main house to use, so we were really happy. I think she likes us.  This will make a huge difference at night as we try to sleep. We have got used to simple dinners, as food is limited. We also don’t want to buy any meat. Dinner tonight was a tuna salad. It was a good day and we learnt a lot about the culture through our interaction with Fatima. and I know she will not forget me and especially this day. Oh, we also found out today that her name is not Fatima, but actually Patyma.




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