An emancipated woman's travels, part 1


Once upon a time I visited Zanzibar, on my own. The (hugely) overcrowded ferry landed just as the night fell and in a moment everything turned into the darkest shade of black. I'd booked a hotel in advance, and against all odds, even found it (my sense of direction..). They'd of course given my room away - reservations were a rather useless Western exercise - the rooms and everything else were always given to anyone who offered cash first, anyway. I was tired. More exhausted than I remembered ever having been. Having worked for half a year without break, often till the morning hours, and in rather challenging Tanzanian conditions. I hadn't slept at all the night before, to somehow wrap the huge project up. Hadn't eaten anything all day. Didn't remember when I'd even drank some water. My backpack suddenly felt too heavy for my shoulders. I knew that all the hotels of the island were full, I'd been lucky to even get this one reservation. And now. Not even a bed. I'd have to sleep on the beach and I knew it was very dangerous, everybody had warned me against it. The weight of all the backbreaking work, huge responsibility and very little sleep finally all collapsed on me. I couldn't find the force to move anymore, not one more step. I slided down to the floor of the reception and decided to stay right there until the universe would somehow fix this situation. I no longer had the energy. The poor guy at the reception panicked. He thought I was fainting. And he probably wasn't that far off. For a moment, he run around in circles, then he hopped upstairs and came back with a big gentle South African guy. Derek. It turned out he'd given my room to Derek. In rather incoherent sentences I explained to Derek that I was afraid to sleep on the beach, alone. That I'd known I couldn't find a place to sleep if I came by the last ferry but I'd had no choice.. I even explained that one can't hang a mosquito net anywhere on a beach and I'd already had malaria three times.. I didn't realise tears were rolling down my face until he wiped them off. So. The universe, in the form of this gentle giant, did arrange everything. He gave me his room. He carried my backback there. He even carried me there. Fixed my mosquito net, wished me good night and left. This (retrospectively) warm memory came to my mind when I saw the ingenious poster by Victor Egelund:


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