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March/April 2015

13

Be happy,

my soul,

let go of all

worries.

Soon the

place of your

yearnings will

be reached.

The town

of palms,

Bagamoyo.

Far away, how

my heart was

aching.

Be quiet, my

heart, all worries

are gone.

The drum beats,

and with rejoicing

we are reaching

Bagamoyo.

SONG OF THE

CAR AVAN PORTERS

(circa 19th century,

original in Swahili)

On the winding, palm-studded road,

halfway from Dar es Salaam north to Bagam-

oyo, traffic comes to a standstill where crews

have been working their way up from the capi-

tal, doubling the width of the old, two-lane

road. Buses and cars negotiate dusty twists and

turns until the road narrows and the lush green

valleys open up and come in close on both sides.

At Bagamoyo town, small shops and art galler-

ies dot the roadsides; old men wearing

kanzu

and

kofia

glide by on worn bicycles while clus-

ters of young men wearing flashy caps wait

in the shade with their motorbikes. Women

draped in colorful headscarves and bright

dresses, others in skinny jeans and T-shirts,

saunter in pairs or alone along the road carry-

ing packages on their heads. Along Bagamoyo’s

scraggly, white-sand coast, the tide slips in. By

nightfall it is quiet, and only an occasional

bark from a dog pierces the silence.

All across the United Republic of Tanzania,

as it has been known since 1964, it is general

election season as President Jakaya Mrisho

Men work on a fishing boat in Bagamoyo,

Tanzania, which for 600 years served as one of

East Africa’s leading gateways to the Indian

Ocean,

left.

The town’s tide of trade may come

in yet again under mega-port development

plans promoted by native-son President

Jakaya Mrisho Kikwete,

above

.

Written by

AMANDA LEIGH LICHTENSTEIN

Photography by

MAR I ELLA FURRER