The wonderful island of Zanzibar was the place I chose to volunteer as an English teacher in 2016. I immediately fell in love with the work, the marvelous place, and specially the mentality of the people. Even though I was their teacher, it was me who the one that learned the most. A game-changer in my life was when I realized how little in life I really need to be happy.
One day, I was walking along the beach looking for broken shells, which I could use to make jewelry. Out of the blue, there was this little girl walking next to me, who observed what I was doing. We connected with a few Swahili words that I had learned by then, and to my surprise she began to collect the same shells like me.
When we arrived at the end of the beach, the girl gave me all the shells she had collected and smiled her biggest smile. I hadn’t even realized that she had collected the broken shells for me. I embraced her with gratitude.
On the next day, the girl was waiting for me by the door proudly offering me her hands full of more broken shells, which she had collected. I was speechless and very humbled, so I explained to her that wasn't necessary. But secretly, I wanted her to come again the next day, which she did. “Teacher sina, teacher sina”, she said when she arrived with awe and wonder. I had prepared a small bracelet from the shells we had collected together. I told her to open her hand and put the bracelet in her palm. The happiness in her eyes was crazy!
Moments like this may seem small, but it made me think about the lifestyle I grew up with in Europe. Back home in winter in Switzerland, I suddenly began to miss the positive energy and the sun from Zanzibar.
That was the moment I decided to leave my home country for good. January 2017, I have quit my job, left my flat and sold almost everything I had to travel the world with only one bag. Every time someone asks me why I made the decision to leave Switzerland, I tell them how Africa has inspired me to change my life.
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