Monthly Archives: February 2015


Arriving in Jambiani

Most of the Swahili words I knew before arriving in Zanzibar were from The Lion King. Simba. Rafiki. Hakuna matata. But there is another word that’s quickly becoming much more relevant as I begin my life on the island. Polepole.

Polepole means ‘slowly’ and there couldn’t be a more apt word for an achievement-driven westerner arriving in this chilled out country. I heard polepole dozens of times in my first week. Waiting for the bus to arrive. Waiting for the shop assistant to return. Waiting for the torrential rain to subside. Polepole isn’t just a word here. It’s a way of life.

Digging it? Read on…