“A small, small island, in the Indian Ocean, lots of fresh food and the people are open”. This was a line of song lyrics that was contributed to a song about multicultural life in the UK, by an actress – singer colleague of mine many years ago. We were working on a theatre-in –education project for one of the leading London based companies of that era. The contributor is a UK national, whose parents were born and raised in Mauritius. She had very fond memories of her visits to the island of her parents’ birth.
Looking out this morning at the sun rise in London my mind takes me back to Zanzibar – another small island in the Indian Ocean. I am now used to being back at home. The silence of the early hours of the day are considerably different to the cacophonous early mornings that I experienced in Stone Town, where muezzins from the local Mosques and beaters of gongs and bells from the Hindu Temple would compete for attention, to get adherents to rise for prayer.
One thing I miss from the time I spent there is the humid heat that comes as a matter of course. We had a great summer in London this year and I was happy to bask in the sunshine here. Spending time in Zanzibar was an experience on a whole different level, however.
Walking down the main road next to the ocean every morning to reach the Dhow Countries Music Academy was a treat that I look forward to doing again in the not too distant future.
Colleagues of mine who worked with me just before I left for Zanzibar could see the impact of the island’s climate on my skin and general appearance when I returned to London. The small pleasures provided by nature shouldn’t be underestimated.