Monthly Archives: August 2012

Throw down your heart is the literal meaning of Bagamoyo in Swahili. Moyo means heart and baga is something like throw it down. Bagamoyo is located on the shores of the Indian Ocean about 70km north of Dar es Salaam, Tanzania and famous for its rich history, beachside atmosphere and contemporary arts college.

Fishermen during work

Legend has it, that this was the last glimpse of the African soil slaves would get before being abducted and shipped across the Indian ocean to the Americas, Egypt or some other shores by Swahili slave traders in the 19th century. The name is reflecting the desperation and despair of the ‘broken hearted’ captives. The other side of the slave trade, the Caravan porters, praised the town as “Bwagamoyo”-“to throw off melancholy”, with the feeling that they had reached the end of their long arduous journey from the interior.

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Two years ago I was sitting high up the citadel in Aleppo, Syria sipping strong black tea with sugar and watching the birds go by. I was on a journey from Cairo to Beirut with stops in Jordan and Syria.

I went through the souk in Damascus. The countless little stalls are tucked in corners narrow paths are winding their way through the halls, women passing by, tea sellers shouting and the smell of spices is in the air – all of this accumulating to the greatest market I have ever been to. The souk is covered by an iron roof with plenty of holes giving way to rays of sunlight that make the dust flicker in front of ones eyes creating this unique and delightful atmosphere. A local explained that the holes stem from French Fighter planes that attacked the capital in the 1920s during the uprisings for independence. Whether true or not, it gives the place a chilling romance.

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