A Message from Greg: So, as I sit here in the JTTI office on my final day in Zanzibar, it’s becoming more and more apparent how difficult it is to condense the past 6 weeks into a few words. In fact, the phrase “lost for words” couldn’t be more appropriate right now, despite having every intention and desire to reflect upon, and share, my experience as best as possible. However much I’d like to blame this slight mental blockage on an overdose of Alastair’s fictitious disease named “TR” (Terminal Relaxation, for those who haven’t been diagnosed previously), it would be extremely dishonest of me. In reality, without ignoring the fact that TR has definitely hit me hard since arriving here, I can only blame this current lack of expression on having perhaps too many incredible memories to talk about. While all of these truly remarkable ‘gifts’ will stay with me for the rest of my life, it’s always going to be hard to pick out the best ones. Much like with the extensive amounts of teas, fruits, and sauces stored in the JTTI kitchen, it would prove difficult for most people to pick just a handful to take (although for me the sauce is always likely to be tomato ketchup). Nonetheless, to say my relatively short time here has been amazing and life-changing would be an understatement. Simply put – it’s been unbelievable.
Before I go on, I would just like to say a massive thank you. Firstly to the people of Zanzibar and to those I have had the pleasure of meeting. Secondly, and more importantly, to Sine, for inviting me here and supporting me throughout my stay – not only as a friend and colleague, but as visitor to a completely new world. Finally, and most importantly, I’d like to express my gratitude to Alastair and Pat for giving me the opportunity to travel, work, live and engage in the daily life and culture of Zanzibar and the JTTI. As I have come to realize throughout the duration of my time here, it’s not very often that one comes across such kind, sincere and welcoming people. Much of this realization springs to mind all of the brilliant people and friends I’ve met since settling in – particularly over the past few weeks while Alastair and Pat have been away enjoying a break. However, most of this thought relates directly to Alastair and Pat, as they have so kindly let me live in their home, and have trusted me with working at their institute whilst managing a whole host of pretty important responsibilities. I hope that they have enjoyed their well deserved holiday, and haven’t been too concerned on what has been going down here in Jambiani. I’m glad to say that Sine, Yusuf and I, have managed to keep things in order and without any major problems.
On the whole my time here has definitely been a unique and valuable experience for myself, particularly after spending the best part of the past 21 years in full-time education (that’s not to say I haven’t learnt plenty here). It’s also been a great way to explore myself, challenge myself, make new friends, teach people who appreciate learning so much, rejoice by playing music together, and finally (not forgetting the most important one), live life. I’ll never forget this experience.