Local people of Zanzibar want to be a friend of you?
When it comes to meeting new people, in the attempt to make new friends with the locals of Zanzibar for a foreigner can be a little bit tricky. As a foreigner, the local people of Zanzibar are more than eager to be friends of you. They will go out of their way to assist you with everything and will more than likely end up selling you something. It will be anything, from an excursion claiming that they are a captain and a tour guide, masters of everything that can earn them a tip or commission from lodging to the actual tour companies. If you have been on the island for even just a day you will understand what talking about. These are far from developing into anything substantial in the quest for making “real” friends. These over-friendly ones go by many names like flycatchers, beach boys, street hustlers and so on. They can turn out to be somewhat of a nuisance after a little while therefore the places you can meet genuine people would be at places of business and institutions or even artists and performers who you would have to go up to and interact with then you would be sure that there are no strings attached.
“Shamba” which is a farm in Swahili is also a term used by the locals to indicate coasts and areas outside of the city. In the Shamba the locals speak less English and more Swahili. If you ask a local person “what is the definition of a friend to you?” The answer is more or less similar “A friend is a person who knows you well and helps you when you get into trouble.” Well, I tend to agree even though I know the intricacies of friendship go a lot deeper and it is a tailored and loaded question because everyone has their views of what they will look for or want out of a friend with that said there is no right or wrong way to go about it. It’s the when’s and where’s. Do’s and don’ts too maybe.
Characteristics of Zanzibar people
I have made local friends from all sorts of ways at pubs, cafes, most of them I hear from now and then. What I can say for with certainty is what to expect from a local Swahili friend and this also is only out of my experience and like I said before everyone has their own experience. The one very common thing is that you should be prepared to be asked for money, just take it as it is and do not be offended. You seem to be coming from a place of more privilege in their eyes and it’s not wrong or awkward at all to borrow money in their culture. They will show up late. Punctuality is not a thing of any significance out here. So plan and calculate some late time and island time on top of that and you will be happy say ” let’s meet at 3pm today” they will show up at 4:30 pm and you will be like ” you are just on time” with a smile and they will be more than confused. Moreover when it comes to loyalty and honesty, then they are some cue cards you have to pick up by yourself I doubt that there is any derivative way to go about to make friends. Some contacts will mature and some won’t it’s just how life goes. I have had different kinds of friends, from drinking and parting friends, who at one point were my day to day friends, to only get to see online friends who all we do is like everything the other posts on social media, like their page, like their posts and from time to time actually engaged in conversation over texts or comments those people you actually knew but maybe distant or circumstance has driven you apart from each other.
Whenever you go to someplace new, you have to put yourself out there to make friends with the locals you have to go where the locals go, do what the locals do. Engage in local events and activities you have to take the first step or the first initiative to break down barriers that might exist in cultural differences to personal taste you have to make the decision and only you can guide its potential outcome, like the old age- long saying “ You are the master of your fate”.” The conqueror of your world”. So go forth and be bold to make friends you have to come as a friend, be a friend and you will become a friend. Another crucial point to note is you will have to do your best to learn the local language by all means necessary learn the local language that will give you leverage to not being talked about behind your back and being able to fully engage in conversations and of course have a better understanding of the way of life, culture and heritage.
Finally, all you have to do is be bold to go out there and ask a local for directions to the best restaurant or café in town. Go out and indulge a little smile and say hello to strangers just as the strangers say to you, let down your walls and live a little.
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