We work at the grassroots level throughout the Muslim World to counter violent extremism before it takes hold, to promote tolerance and understanding, and to foster better relations with the United States.
This post was written by Zee Abu while she was still in Zanzibar. Zee volunteered as a teacher while there, and is back in the U.S. now.
“Pole Pole,” I hear this phrase daily. It means “slowly, slowly” in Swahili. I am used to a fast-paced life, always being busy and on the run. However, the pace of life here in Zanzibar is very slow. Zanzibarians have no concept of time, everything just kind of happens, there is no rush. People here believe that it will get done if it is meant to get done. I am the girl with a detailed planner, set schedule and routine. Boy was I in for a big shock when I came to this country.
On my schedule it says that school is suppose to start at 7:15. I live by the mantra “if you’re not 5 minutes early, your late.” So the first day, I got to school at 7:00. I was 15 minutes early and only two teachers were here. I waited… And waited… And 7:30 came around. Everyone started to show up. I didn’t end up teaching until 8:07. I soon came to realize that my schedule was just numbers on a piece of paper. Everything here is “go with the flow.” You get to class when you get to class, teachers finish teaching, not when the bell rings, but whenever they are finished teaching.
It was really hard for me to get use to the “No Rush” lifestyle. I was constantly early for everything. Now, I have to say, I am really adapting the lifestyle. I know we can’t be 45 minutes late to class or a meeting in the USA but we can adapt the “no stress” lifestyle. I am learning that there is no reason to stress about everything and to just enjoy the little things in life.
I hope I don’t take this no rush lifestyle back to the D.C because I will be left behind. But in the meantime, I will just sit here and enjoy the beautiful weather, the beautiful view and go with the flow.