FROM TABORA WITH LOVE: Although I hate spices, I love ‘Spice Islands’

Dear nephew Milambo

Greetings from this confused city, where rain can pound your backyard while the front of the house is as dry as old bones.

I hope by the grace of Limatunda you are all doing okay, you and all the people in my beloved Ukumbisiganga.

Here in the city we thank the ancestors because we are all doing fine, apart from the heat which has returned with renewed vigor after the few rains which pounded this city.

My dear nephew, I don’t think that you have experienced the heat that is now becoming a trademark of this city, because right now it can be termed as extreme.

Can you imagine you are in the bathroom taking a cold shower (I don’t think you can call it that because water from the shower is very warm), and as soon as you turn it off, you start sweating immediately.

It is a serious torture my dear boy, and to make matters worse two days ago our bedroom fan broke down, and I can assure you that I hardly slept until we fixed it yesterday.

That night when the fan suddenly stopped rotating, I went to the bathroom exactly six times before 3am, which somehow irritated your aunt, but as you know, that woman never feels the heat, which makes me wonder whether her body system is okay and functioning properly.

The sun can be blazing like a hot microwave, but you will never see any sign of sweat on your aunt’s face, while at that time I am practically dripping water.

After coming from the shower at 3am, I thank Liwelelo because the temperature had cooled down dramatically, so by 4am I managed to grab some sleep, and the first thing I did when I woke up was to call Fundi Abdallah, that boy who has an electric repair shop at the main road.

But the funny thing about this place my dear boy is that with all this heat, there are times when the rain falls, but as I told you before, it is a weird kind of rain.

Yesterday I was meant to meet a certain fellow at that bar on the main road, the one they call Datoo, (we sat there one day when you were here), which as you know is less than 4 kilometers from our house.

I was getting ready to leave when suddenly the rain started falling, and it started as a mild shower, but after about 5 minutes, it gathered momentum and it became a serious downpour, accompanied by heavy clouds and some serious lightning and scary thunder.

This rain took almost one hour, which was one hour of heavy downpour, so when the fellow called me and told me that he had already arrived at our meeting point and had been waiting for me, he did not believe me when I told him that it was raining heavily.

“Great grandchild of Chief Mirambo, I understand that sometimes one feels lazy to come out of the house, which I understand considering your age, but using rain as an excuse is not clever, especially when the sun is blazing as if it is on a revenge mission,” he told me with a chuckle.

You will not believe it my dear son, when the rain subsided and I managed to get out of the house, I was shocked that less than a kilometer from the house there was no sign of rain, in fact the road was dusty like crazy, and when I reached the main road, the sun was blazing and there was no sign that the rain will visit that area soon.

But that is how this city is my dear boy, I know you have also experienced the confusion when you visited, we have to live with it.

My dear boy, I hope you received the Easter gifts I sent to you and your family through Farouk, the tailor’s son who was here a few days ago.

I gave him a specific order that the gifts should reach you before Easter so that you and your family can have a good time, because me and your aunt are heading to Zanzibar.

Your aunt surprised me two days ago when she told me that we should go to the islands for this year’s Easter celebrations, and I had no objection because to be honest I love visiting that place.

Sometime last year we had an opportunity of witnessing what the islands have to offer, and I must say that we were not disappointed, although several beach boys almost ruined our day.

My dear boy, I know at your age you already know that Zanzibar is famous for its spices, which is second only to tourism, because as I was told the last time I was there, spice farming forms a major part of Zanzibar’s economy.

That is why the islands are sometimes referred to as the Spice Islands, due to the cloves, nutmeg, cinnamon, and black pepper that are grown there.

The last time we were there with your aunt one of the locals told us that Zanzibar Island is well known as the Spice Island due to the farming and processing of aromatic spices like cloves, turmeric, cinnamon, nutmeg, lemongrass and black pepper.

This time I will plan to visit spice plantations to learn about the process and history of these crops, their medicinal and culinary uses, because at my age I still like to learn new things, since they say that learning has no limit.

Don’t worry my son, I will make sure I send you enough pictures so that you can get an idea of how the placed operates, and if Limatunda wishes one day we will come to visit together.

Let me stop here my dear boy, please give my greetings to your lovely wife and children, I pray to Liwelelo that He will protect you and all my people in Ukumbisiganga, and the ancestors to watch over all of you.




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