Portrait

A little after 6a.m. on Sunday, somewhere not far from Bagamoyo (some 70km north of Dar). Fishermen have sailed across the still, cloudy waters of the lagoon in a small ngalawa. They reach the narrow strip of land, where we’re camping, that separates lagoon and open sea. They’ll go lobster fishing now; but first, a break to stretch their legs, to bail out the water that inevitably trickles into the wooden hull, and to wonder at this grubby stranger who has turned up on their patch. In Swahili the same word, mgeni, can mean stranger, foreigner, visitor, or guest. Karibu sana, they say: welcome. I am all four meanings at once.

More photos of the secret lagoon here.

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