Monday, May 30, 2011

My Dissertation - Flying Fish in the Great White North

I've decided that I'm going to do this dissertation process a little differently by posting my progress on my blog periodically.  For better or for worse, you'll get to see the ins and outs of how a history PhD is researched, written, re-written, edited, and finally completed.

My blog will pretty much be a forum for me to post and get my ideas out, organize my research, work on my writing, and for everyone to comment and give their feedback.

Right now my timeline is 20 months, so I'm looking at being done and out by January 2013 at the latest.  Ideally my plan is to finish by the fall of 2012.  No sense lollygaggin' around.

Let's start with the title and outline I have thus far:

Title:

Flying Fish in the Great White North: Black Barbadians in Canada, 1940-1967

Chapter Outline:

  • Chapter 1 - Barbados
 ·     Barbadian history of slavery and colonialism
·        Barbadian political history
·        Barbadian political culture
·        Barbadian race relations
·        Barbadian foreign policy – racism and foreign policy
·        Barbadian economic, social, and political “push factors” for emigration to Canada
o   A Culture of Migration?
o   The political climate
o   Colonial factors
o   Race and racism

  • Chapter 2 – 20th century Canada
·       Race and discrimination in 20th century Canadian society
·       Immigration and the history of Immigration policy
·       Multiculturalism policy
·       Canadian foreign policy – pre and post-WWII
·       Canadian institutionalized racism – racism in immigration, multiculturalism, and foreign policies
·       Canadian race relations

  • Chapter 3 – Barbadian-Canadian foreign relations
·       Canadian-Barbadian relations – from their slave and colonial beginnings to WWII and decolonization
o   The British link
o   Imperial ideology
·       Liberal Democratic Theory and ideology – how it affected both Canadian and Barbadian societies
o   The ties that bound

  • Chapter 4 - Barbadians in Canada: The autonomous Barbadian – The Bajan (oral histories here)
·       The autonomous Barbadian – The Bajan first in Barbados and then in Canada (oral histories here)
o   Black Barbadians as Clients, Victims, Achievers, Community, Survivors, Traumatic Rage, and Black Barbadians as the cause of their own problems in Barbados and Canada
·       Black Barbadian immigration to Canada 1940 – 1967 by the numbers and the actors (case studies)
·       The Barbadian Diaspora in Canada
·       The NCBAC
·       Barbadian political, social, and economic integration in Canada

Saturday, May 28, 2011

I Killed a Goat

Actually I didn't.  But as I opened up the Toronto Star this morning and saw an article about Mr. Facebook and his new "eat what you kill" diet plan that trumps the "eat what you grow" or the "eat food from a can" (I tried that one and am a big proponent of it for students) or even the "if it comes from China, I won't eat it" diet plan, I was reminded of an experience in Arusha.

So unless everyone decides on just eating dandelion and ant salad every single day for every single meal, I think we'd have a hard time sticking to the eat what you kill diet.

But I did try to eat what I killed, or rather, kill what I eat.  I just couldn't do it.

The plan was set for me to buy a small (probably a baby goat) at the Thursday market in Ngaramtoni for about $15 CDN.  (Yes, you can buy an entire live goat for about the same price as lamb chops from a Jack Astor's.)  After buying the goat, we - David, Robert, and I from Sakina Camp - would take the goat back and make it into food.  I say make it into food, because killing this face ain't easy.



In all fairness to me, it wasn't the killing factor that turned me off of my furry handmade meal.  It was how I was going to kill it.

Mr. Facebook's pro chef - Jesse Cool - said "he (Mr. F) cut the throat of the goat with a knife, which is the most kind way to do it".  Well, if I was given that kind image of professional goat throat slashing, I would've been killing a goat once a week.  Seems so simple: buy the goat, lull it to sleep with a lullaby or story about the troll under the bridge, gently run the knife over its neck, set the oven to 400 degrees, and let bake for 2 hours.  You can serve it with a nice white wine and roasted asparagus.

Here's goat killing Tanzanian style (or at least the way that I was supposed to do it):

First off, it's a three person operation.  One person to hold its mouth, the other to hold its feet, and third is the executioner (I was going to be the executioner).

Really, there is no real Julia Child's how-to for this.  But the fact of the matter is, you're not slicing a piece of pork rump you bought from Metro (or any other supermarket out there) for $5.99.

You slice the goat's head off.  Yes, slice it right off.  Not only slice, but you got to first get through the fur, then the skin, the muscle, finally break through the spine, and do it all over again on the other side (scroll back up now and look at the photo).  And while you're slicing and dicing, the goat is screaming and kicking.  Choking on its own death rattle.  Blood is splattering everywhere while you play highschool biology dissectioner under a tree with Mt. Meru in background.

Call me a chicken, call me soft, call me Mr. PETA, call me a hypocrite because I still ate meat that someone else had to slice and dice that same night.  But I was told during my deliberation on whether to do it or not that if I can't "kill what I eat", I don't deserve to eat meat.  And in theory, she was right.

But that's also like telling someone if you can't drill your own oil, you don't deserve to drive your own car.  Or if you're not a seamstress or a tailor, you don't deserve to wear or own clothes.  Or if you're not prepared to die for your own country, you don't deserve to be a citizen.

So, Mr. Facebook, I lay down a challenge.  Next time you decide you want to eat a burger, post a video of you killing a cow on youtube and I'll be the first one to sing your praises.

Some of us are just too chicken to kill our feathery brethren.

http://www.thestar.com/news/world/article/998478--mark-zuckerberg-s-new-plan-eat-what-you-kill

Friday, May 27, 2011

Bleaching Blacks - Part II

A "Bleaching Blacks" follow-up post.

For some of you, the following short video (only about 9 minutes) is nothing new or even surprising.  For others, this may be quite an incredible shock.


http://jezebel.com/5805954/the-heartbreaking-reality-of-being-a-dark+skinned-black-woman



Watch it and then please comment here.  I don't care what colour you are, or what part of the world you're from, I know you've got an opinion and I'd like to hear it.  You guys don't need to hear what I think and read my rants all the time.

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Oprah

I never really watched Oprah, and I think her best roles over the past 25 years were in The Women of Brewster Place and The Color Purple.  But seeing as I'm turning 25 this year, Oprah has been that ubiquitous presence throughout my entire life.  I'm an Oprah baby.

If you think about it, Oprah is a serious force to be reckoned with.  I mean, look, if Oprah went on her last show today and said anything about my blog and let alone posted the url during the credits, I'd have three million page views by tomorrow.  I'd probably also get thrown on a no-fly list and be branded an unpatriotic racist, but hey, the Oprah Effect.

In all seriousness, I think Oprah is the ultimate role model for women, especially young Black women trying to find a place in the world.  I'm not saying that every little Black girl from Dar es Salaam to Chattanooga to Toronto and back should want to grow up hosting their own talk show, become an entrepreneur, savvy business woman, and finally the richest and most powerful woman in the world (but I don't think that's a bad idea for someone to want to set their sights on as a child or young lady growing up).

She talks about everyone in life having a calling, and after hearing her say it today, I genuinely believe it.  

What I am saying is that Oprah did it on her own.  She didn't need a husband, fiance, or any man for her to reach her success.  She never had a sex tape, nor did she date Sidney Poitier or Bill Cosby.  (A Black woman growing up in the South circa the 1950s and 1960s was a very hard thing to do, especially without the support of a male breadwinner.)  If I saw Oprah walking down the street without makeup on, I'd be like "damn, she's one ugly ass woman".  Shoot, she didn't even marry Stedman.  Beyonce says she's an independent woman, but she's hanging off Jay-Z like an STI.  I'm just saying.

If Oprah decided to run for president of the US tomorrow, she'd win.  If Oprah decided to run up against Harper in the next election, she'd probably win that too.

But the thing I admire most about Oprah is that she has transcended race and colour.  You never hear people saying "that Black billionaire talk show host".  Man, she even just goes by her first name - Oprah.  And she's been doing it for 25 years.  And if you thought she was rich and powerful before, she's now got her own network and a whole pile of big names that she's making money off of.  She's sitting in the owner's box of society.

Her audience is full of middle class and middle aged White women.  She grew up the poor of the poor in Jim Crow Mississippi. She canoodles with the uber rich and famous - Black, White, and everything in between from Tom Cruise to Will Smith.  She and Obama are buddies.  She can navigate just about any social, cultural, and colour circle around the world.

Whenever I end up having children, especially a daughter, I'm not going to read her fairy tales about a woman who rides a pumpkin and dreams about a prince charming and glass slippers.  Or about a fish woman from twenty thousand leagues under the sea that has a bottom feeder sea rat for a best friend.  Nor am I going to tell her that she'll get a pink unicorn pony that can talk for her seventh birthday.  No.

What I will do is tell her about someone real and someone who made it against all odds.  Not only did she play the game and win, but she now owns it.  A real woman.

Women, especially Black women, always get the short end of the stick in our society.  Always mistreated, and undervalued by men and sometimes even other women.  We neglect and abuse our mothers, sisters, girlfriends and wives on a daily basis.  Lady Gaga singing about Judas and walking around half naked in meat underwear is not a role model; she's a gimmick and a half baked tool.  Hilary Clinton - the most powerful wife in the world - was publicly and globally humiliated by her cheating husband.  Shoot, even Michelle Obama, the woman that nurtured the future first Black president of the US, has become nothing more than his photo-op gardener that wears nice dresses.

I always give credit where credit is due, and for what Oprah has done and how she has literally changed the face of US television and society as a whole, I say thank you.

Comments

There seems to be a problem with blogger and posting comments on my blog.  I'm no computer expert, but please keep on trying until it works.  I read all the comments and comment on them too.

Thanks.

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Bleaching Blacks - Vybz Kartel Style

Let me start off with a few wikipedia definitions to explain the title of my post.

Bleach: "A chemical that removes colors, whitens, or disinfects, often by oxidation.  Common chemical bleaches include household chlorine bleach...lye...and bleaching powder."

Vybz Kartel: "Adidja Palmer (born January 7, 1976), better known as Vybz Kartel, is a Jamaican dancehall artist, songwriter and businessman."

Some of you may understand the connection between bleach, Blacks and pretty much any and all dark skinned peoples worldwide, and currently the infamous "cake soap" and Vybz Kartel.  If not, here's an article from the Jamaica Observer (read in its entirety):

http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/business/Cake-soap-company-lightens-Kartel-s-claim_8283170

And for those that don't like reading and know that Jamaican is not a language, here's the actual interview:


This is not an isolated issue.  This is not a new issue.  Black identity has historically been rooted in one's lightness and darkness (clearskin, brownin', lightskinned, high yellow, yellow, mixed, red, darkie, blue black, darkness, shiny black, chocolate black, dark chocolate, milk chocolate, mocha, quadroon, octoroon, nigga black, field slave black, house slave black, nearly white, and the list can go on and on for black colour descriptors).  A Black person's black complexion, and degrees of black skin tone, is one of the most important - and most contentious - factors within the Black community.

No, this is not me going on a rant.  I'm just stating the facts rooted within the coloured history and present day identity struggles of Black and other dark skinned communities (I can pretty much replace Black with South Asian in this post).

Is it thought to be better to be lighter in the Black community?  Yes.  Do I believe it is better or easier to be lighter?  Yes.  Do I think Obama would've been elected if he was as dark as Wesley Snipes?  Nope.  Am I proud that I'm six degrees from being the colour of the midnight abyss?  Hell yes.

I'll admit that I'm a victim of these beliefs and part of the problem.  Lightskin Black women like Halle Berry, Sharon Carpenter, and Paula Patton, are my "type".  (For the record, those women are fine as hell regardless of what your type may or may not be.)

Black identity is synonymous with one's Black colour.  Black colour is synonymous with self respect and self worth.  And social and economic class and life opportunities in many societies around the world are determined by one's Black complexion.  Like it or not, just like the ideological historical devaluation of Blackness and Black identity that I've written on earlier in this blog, the "lighter is better" modus operandi is a White European historical creation.  A creation that's alive and well and more destructive than ever.



You can bring on the comments about the similarities of White people tanning to Black people bleaching because it's all about changing your skin colour, but that's apples and oranges.  Last time I checked, The Situation wasn't leading a symposium or writing a song on the social impact of White people getting darker and melanoma.

Listen to the lyrics of this song and you'll understand.


Monday, May 23, 2011

May 22nd, 2011

I couldn't make this up even if I wanted to.  This photo was taken the day after tomorrow - the day after the Rapture.  There's no photoshop, no nothing. 

Friday, May 20, 2011

Jesus is Coming

I'm not trying to be blasphemous or facetious, but for those who haven't heard, tomorrow - May 21st - is Judgment Day and the second coming of Jesus Christ.  No need for me to even put my two cents in.  Why?  Because "the Bible guarantees it".

http://www.familyradio.com/index2.html

And for those that want a little more objective coverage of the end of the world (which is actually in October.  For those heathens out there, you got time to get those tattoos removed or convert to another religion that believes the world ain't coming to an end.)

http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-us-canada-13468131

I'm not one to tell people what they should or shouldn't believe in, so here's an option for all the pet owners out there who are worried what will happen after "you step up to Jesus":

"You've committed your life to Jesus.  You know you're saved.  But when the Rapture comes what's to become of your loving pets who are left behind?  Eternal Earth-Bound Pets takes that burden off your mind...Our network of animal activists are committed to step in when you step up to Jesus."

http://eternal-earthbound-pets.com/

Stranger things have happened.

Sunday, May 15, 2011

The United Provinces of Mediocrity

I came home the day before the federal election.  And what was on the front of the Toronto Star the day of the election?  A big ol' picture of Osama bin Laden.  Thanks respectively to both Mr. Obama and Mr. Osama for screwing up our election and giving Harper the power to turn us further into a corporatocracy.

That's enough about my thoughts on the election.  Why?  Because I didn't vote.  I don't need to explain myself more on that one, but the fact that I was in Tanzania while the election was called and for the entire campaign had a lot to do with it.  Plus, I don't have enough money or influence or stupidity for my vote to actually count.

But I would like to comment on our Canadian culture of apathy, boredom, privilege, laissez-faire, and being average, which all adds up to us being The United Provinces of Mediocrity.  Or The UPM for short.  Has a nice ring to it, eh?

We have this illusion that everyone is equal.  That everyone is middle class.  Our government likes to say things like "we will all benefit from tax cuts" or "reducing our levels of immigration will only help our country".  Then we have the parents and school boards that say "no child left behind" or "we can't fail children because it will hurt their self-esteem".  Then we have parents again and sport coaches saying that "it's not whether you win or lose, it's about having fun".  What does that all equal?  A politically blind, crayon eating, last place finishing, kool-aid drinking, Justin Bieber loving generation that believes that just showing up is more than good enough. 

Why?  Because if you've lived your life knowing that you can never fail a class, and even if you did, you would still get pushed on with your peers because "it'll be better for you in the end" or being taught that competition is a bad thing and that losing or failing has zero repercussions, where's the incentive to even care or put in any effort when our society is tailored for the average citizen and being average?

And what happens when we all become apathetic and content with the status-quo?  What happens when the kid that sat next to you in Grade 3 sucking from the bottle of that brown glue that smelled like Clorox is now your incompetent boss because he was not allowed or not supposed to fail in grade school?  And then he benefited from bellcurves and TAs who were given marking "guidelines" just to make the university look good so more glorified babysitters (oops, I mean parents) can spend their middle-class paycheques to send their unprepared progeny into a unrealistic reality of our Canadian way of life?

We get a society where mediocre is the new black.  The mundane and irrelevant is what we look for, care about, and celebrate.

I would be a fool to say that I'm not a product of this mediocrity and a citizen of the UPM.  And coming from Tanzania really hit home how much we - and I - live in a country where we literally have nothing to worry about.  And is that bad thing?  Hell no!

I can walk down the street and not worry about someone driving around in a truck shooting an AK47.  I can drink water out the tap and not worry about getting worms or typhoid or a stomach fungus.  I can go to bed at night knowing that if anything bites me I won't die from malaria.

I can lose my job, or never have a job, and not worry about where my next meal is going to come from or where I'm going to sleep. 

What does bothers me is that we live in a society that believes that we have a right to be mediocre.  Not only is it okay to be mediocre, we champion and celebrate it.  We tell our kids it's okay they failed because they tried and give them prizes for perfect attendance records.  A prize for just showing up to school every day?  Wow.

I'm sorry, but I don't want that doctor that bellcurved passed third year biology trying to save my life.  And furthermore, I don't want that politician who has two degrees in economics telling his UPM citizens that he's not running our country like a corporation.  I'm just saying.

When I do have kids, I'll tell them that winning is everything.  I gotta tell them the truth.  And I don't want to be that mediocre father.

Saturday, May 14, 2011

The Gym and Physical Fitness

I was a serious gym rat before I left for Tanzania. I was a serious gym rat while I was in Tanzania. I still love working out now that I'm back, but now it's back to the basics.

You go in any gym here in London (Ontario) or the GTA or pretty much any commercial gym in Canada, you're going to get reasonably good equipment. At most universities in Canada, especially the new fitness and wellness centres (what's a wellness centre anyway?), you're going to get top of the line equipment. UWO recently opened their multi-million dollar centre and a few years before that, UTM did the same.

I won't even lie, but these gyms or wellness centres or fashion show runways or testosterone farms or whatever you want to call them, are great. I mean some of the best facilities you'll find anywhere in the world. Hands down. And the kicker is that all students can use them free (well free meaning you've paid for it in your tuition whether you use it or not). Tuition dollars well spent.

So there I was, a staple at UTM's brand new gym during my undergrad, then a staple at UWO's new gym during my MA and the first couple years of my PhD, and before that spending years of my life at York's Track Centre. Let's add to the fact that I've collected enough equipment over the years that I have a pretty decent gym in my parents' basement in Mississauga. Right before I left for Tanzania my bench was well over 300 pounds, my squat was pushing 400, and my deadlift reaching up to nearly 500 pounds. I'm not the tallest guy in the world (shoot I'm not tall by any standards), but even if you scroll through some of the pics from January and February, I had some size on me. I loved (love) the gym and spent hours a day using most of that multi-million dollar equipment.

I get to Tanzania and all that changes. Not just did my gym frequenting habits change, but how I see physical fitness and getting fit.

First off, you don't need a gym, nor do you need a personal trainer, the fanciest pair of Nikes or Reeboks that will magically slim your Big Mac Bottom into an Apple Bottom. (Some of the best workouts I had in Tanzania were either barefoot or walking through the streets of Arusha wearing my 15,000TSH or 10 dollar used Kill-A-Man-Jaro hiking boots.) You don't need a New Year resolution or an office rec league or a made for TV diet.
All you need is to get up and do something. Go for a walk in the mall. Work in your garden. Cut the grass. Ride a bike. Watch TV all day and force yourself to walk to the fridge or your bedroom during every commercial. Just do something.

I used to joke before I left that all I needed to have a good workout were some big rocks strapped to my back. Mind you I never got close to that here at home, but outside of lifting car parts and steel rods in Mwanza, I was working out with paint cans full of concrete in Arusha.

I'll admit I've been to some pretty high-end gyms in Tanzania (I have to thank IFBB - professional bodybuilder - David Nyombo for letting us stay at his house while we were in Dar es Salaam and highlight his new state-of-the-art fitness centre). They've got all the equipment you need to turn you or your special lady from a toonie into a dime.

Yes, they cost more to use than the African Gyms I described in my earlier posts, and yes they do have more and "real" equipment. And no, I don't feel like there's something wrong with these gyms, including UWO's new facilities. I really think they are great and money well spent.

But on a personal level, watching some really fit, big, and cut dudes lift and workout while sharing a bench with 15 other guys, on a diet of ugali na maziwa (ugali and milk is the meal to eat to get big - mass gaining protein powders are pretty much unheard of for the average person), or using Cold War era equipment barefoot so you won't dirty up the area rugs (that was actually the best gym experience I had in Tanzania while I was in Arusha. Gotta thank Eric, Alex, Hamsa aka "Little Chris", and Godson aka "Son of God"), really made me realize that I don't need all that Goodlife-esque equipment to stay in shape.

This goes back to an underlying theme to my post - Tanzanians working and making do with what they've got.  Not just making do, but excelling with the whole "lemons made into lemonade" mantra.

Some concrete and wood and you're good to go

Ultimate Frisbee

Go for a run

Play soccer with a goat

Or push a car out of some rocks in the road

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Random Photos

Just some random shots and photos of people I've met and spent time with while I was in Tanzania.  Thanks for the memories.

My Kilimanjaro climbing brother, Felix

Gotta give thanks to Dane and Missy for their hospitality and getting me and Shannon settled in Mwanza and Tanzania.  Asante sana.

Me trying to look smart

Robert and I relaxing and talking where we did many evenings at Sakina Camp in Arusha.

Arusha dalladalla.  Enough said.

Robert and I

Me, Tom - my London (UK) music connection, and Shannon at New Sahara Cafe

The Sakina Camp Crew - Me, Shannon, Regina, and Robert

Trip of a lifetime, Shannon!

Kinanga, me, Moodie, and Kibabu

Robert's beefstew (yum) and ugali

View of Mt. Meru University, Arusha

Monday, May 9, 2011

Poverty

Coming back here to the safe confines and wealth of Mississauga, it really makes me realize what the poverty I witnessed in cities in Tanzania really means.

According to the CIA World Factbook, 9.4% of Canadians live under the poverty line.  In Tanzania that number jumps to 36%.  That number has to be taken with a grain of salt, because wealth in both countries are not created equally.  To use another arbitrary number, Tanzania's GDP per capita is $1,500USD (2010) and ranks 201st in the world and Canada's is $39,600 and ranked 22nd.  (For the record according to the CIA, Qatar ranks number 1 as of 2010 at $145,300.  Ever wondered one of the reasons why they got the World Cup?)

But the point of this post is to explain what I saw and my personal opinion.

Poverty in Mwanza, Arusha, Bagamoyo, Zanzibar, Dar es Salaam, Tanga, Moshi, and arguably Tanzania as one large generalization, is nothing that the vast majority of Canadians have ever seen or even imagined.

We have this image of a poor person or someone living in poverty having to shop at Goodwill or get their groceries at the foodbank.  While that example is deplorable, especially in a country like Canada, we have systems in place to help those in need.  We have a social security net.  From employment insurance to social welfare, Canada helps (for the most part, I won't get into how we treat our Aboriginal population or how things are gradually changing for the worse) its citizens in need.

On the other hand, poor in Tanzania literally means people with nothing and with no support whatsoever or very little at best.  I've seen children catch buckets of water that looked like untreated waste to drink and use for cooking and bathing.  Brown, filthy water.  People living with no electricity and no running water.

I had a term called "babies holding babies", because children (babies) no older than 5 or 6 were caring for babies not much younger than them.  And some of these kids will never be able to go to school because their parents either can't afford to send them or they can't afford for that child not to work to support their household.

I'm not trying to paint a picture that the whole of Tanzania is an image of Worldvision's "Africa" with children with flies on their faces.  And I hope my posts and photos over the past four months have shown that.  What I really want to get across is that there are people in the world that live one day at a time just trying to survive with what little they have and we complain because we always want more of what we don't need.

Friday, May 6, 2011

Back in Canada

Well, folks, my Tanzanian adventure has come to an end and I'm back in Canada (for now at least).  I would first like to say thank you to everyone for reading my blog, but also to let you guys know that I'm going to keep on posting with my thoughts and photos of wherever I am in the world.  This is a little window into my life, so keep on reading!

I will also be using my blog as a way to digest my thoughts.  I've seen a lot, I've done a lot, I've been through a lot while I was in Tanzania, and I now have a chance to let all those things settle in my brain and in my life.

No, I'm not some new person, but I do have a different perspective on a lot of things.  In a previous post I said I was going to talk about my position on Mzungus, and to be honest, it hasn't changed.  I've met some great White people in Tanzania and I've met some self-righteous idiots and ignorant bigots - and I can say the same about people I've met regardless of their colour.

But I will start my debriefing with this point: I do not tolerate racism of any kind.  I don't have the time nor the patience to deal with racists, ignorant racism, institutional racism, economic racism, careless racism, racism against Blacks, (Mwafricas), Whites (Mzungus), against Indians (Mhindis), against Chinese (Mchinas), against anyone and by anyone.

I'm not on some crusade to save the world, but there's absolutely no place for racism.

For the first time in my life I was invisible.  I could walk anywhere and be anywhere and I was "one of them".  I won't lie, it felt great and it's a position that I want to go back to.  And that doesn't have to be in Tanzania.

But on the flip side, because of my colour I was still subject to racism - in Tanzania.  I was questioned and nearly denied access to a beach resort because I was Black, and this was by Black security guards.  Walking with White people it was a running joke that I was their guide or "rent-a-dread".

I've seen White people harassed for money and verbally assaulted because of their colour.  I've seen Whites and Indians assault Black Tanzanians simply because they were Black. 

I've seen real Black or "African" stereotypes.  I've seen scenes straight out of "Blood Diamond" or "Out of Africa".  I've seen abject poverty right next to mind blogging wealth.  And I've seen how racism and discrimination is a huge barrier to how we in Canada and the West see Tanzania (and arguably the "Coloured" World).

Racism is no longer about calling someone a nigger or a paki or a mzungu.  It has evolved and will keep on evolving.

More thoughts to come.

Wednesday, May 4, 2011

Zanzibar - Mnemba Atoll

I still think Barbados has the best beaches in the world (yes I'm biased), but man, Zanzibar especially off the coast of Mnemba Atoll island, comes a very close second.

On the way to our snorkeling spot

That is not a pool I'm diving into

Swimming in the Indian Ocean is tiring

Tandem dive off the top of our dhow.  I'll admit I was a little nervous because I never dived from so high up (yet another first on my trip)

Mnemba Atoll Island.  Kinda looks like a postcard, eh?

Me wondering what I would be doing at home in Canada right now

Enough said

Should be a photo for tourism Zanzibar

ZANZIbar!

You wish you were here

The one thing you can't tell from these pictures is that the sun is hot.  And when I say hot, it was so hot that the bottom of my feet got a sunburn.

Until next time, Zanzibar.

Tuesday, May 3, 2011

Zanzibar - Spice Plantation

Next stop was a tour of a spice plantation in Zanzibar.  If you love fruit, this is your Eden.

Baby breadfruit

Fruit trees galore

You'll see the finished product near the end of this post

Coconut tree

I didn't want to burst your North American bubble, but chocolate comes from this green alien pod

Check the tree on the left

Passion fruit

Note to self: the fastest way to get a hole in the crotch of your pants is to climb a coconut tree

The finished product

Baadaye spice plantation, karibu beach

Monday, May 2, 2011

Zanzibar - Stone Town's Slave Market

If I were to choose one highlight of my time in Tanzania, it would have to be visiting the Former Slave Market in Stone Town.  It was one of those things you need to see.


The Anglican Church built on the site of the Slave Market.  Kind of ironic that the Anglican Church represented freedom for Blacks in Zanzibar.


School built by the British

The Church

Slave Memorial built on the same spot as the former auction block

The faces were so real they were haunting







The Slave Chamber.  It was built in such a way that the Trade was literally underground.

Going to the Chamber

I'm not the tallest man in the world, but I could barely stand up straight in this room.  About 75 men were chained lying down on the platform with only the two air holes to breathe, while sea water and waste reached near drowning levels.

Imagine lying in this room with 74 other people for days on end with no food, no water, and sleeping in your own and other people's waste.

Salum showing how Slaves were chained together


An actual photo of Freed Slaves