IMAGES: Christmas Day in Bagamoyo

Trip Start Aug 18, 2005
Trip End Feb 20, 2006

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Flag of Tanzania  ,
Sunday, December 25, 2005

Rough and ragged are the edges of decaying structures in this once prominent coastal village on the Tanzanian shore.

While today it's a shell of its former self, there's more behind why there seems to be a sadness seeping from the broken buildings.

Originally a last stop for caravans traveling through the East African interior, Bagamoyo was taken to mean "throw off your melancholy." But during the 19th century, it was established as a thriving terminus for slaves-human cargo shipped off to work on inland plantations and elsewhere or to die along the way. Its name was then re-translated to mean "crush your heart."

It's also the last place on the African continent that hosted the body of the famous medical missionary David Livingstone before it was transported by ship to Westminster Abbey for burial.

I think to myself this is a far cry from my last two Christmases, which were respectively spent snuggled up indoors avoiding ludicrously cold Toronto and wandering the festively lit-up stalls of a Weihnachtmarkt in Germany.

It's a hot, humid and solemn December 25. I spend it quietly soaking in the history of a locale that stands at the crossroads of cultures. As I try to imagine the lives of yesterday, a funeral procession works its way on the unpaved roads to the church reminding me of the sorrows of the here and now.
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