Paradise Lost - By Yusuf Kassam April 2005 (

Yusuf Kassam holding a Changu (white snapper) on his recent (July 2005) visit in Zanzibar.


I left Zanzibar, island of spices,

To emigrate to Canada, land of opportunity.


Forsook the tropical sun

For cold frigid weather.

Left behind the warm ocean breeze

For the windchill of winter.


Abandoned white pristine beaches

For brown muddy shores.

Turned away from a turquoise ocean

For polluted lakes.


Gave up mangoes, papaya, shokishoki, guava and duriani

For apples, pears, grapes, peaches and cherries.

Gave up white snapper and king fish

For cod and sole.

Gave up drinking coconut water straight from the coconut

And settled for bottled water.


Left behind the street coffee seller

For the office coffee pot.

Left behind the exotic fragrance of spices

For the pungent smell of sulfuric emissions.


Deprived of hearing the call to prayer

For the sound of police and fire sirens.


Deprived of seeing women clad in mysterious black buibui

For women dressed in jeans and miniskirts.


Deserted a slow relaxed pace of life

For the fast lane.

Gave up afternoon naps

For gym workouts.

Gave up riding a bicycle through the narrow streets

For driving a car on the highways.


Discontinued a course on the coral marine life

For a course in stress management.


Discarded mud and thatched dwellings

For concrete and steel.

Left behind a community-based life

For a human zoo.


It makes me wonder

If I have also left my soul behind in Zanzibar?



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