Jambiani, Zanzibar

– hanging out with the locals

In 2004 I went to Zanzibar for the first time. My plan was to travel around the island for two weeks, but I didn´t make it longer than the first stop – a sleepy fishing village in the south called Jambiani. I completely fell in love with this place and its people, and spent the entire stay here.

There was only one guesthouse in the village and apart from two dutch backpackers passing for a few days – me and my friend were the only westerners around. Every day I was strolling the village sandy alleys, hanging out with the locals and making new friends. I was helping out picking seaweed in the reef, assisting fishermen with todays catch, playing with their children and talking to the elders – and soon I had earned their trust and friendship.

This respectful and unforced approach was extremely rewarding. As a photographer it gave me natural and deeper access to authentic moments and genuine meetings – the real life, beyond the surface.

As a fellow human, it opened up my heart.

• Private photographic journey