This is why we founded a children education project: KIDZ.
Although I believe one should not put too much meaning in the end of the year I am still using the date for a little review of the old and an outlook into the new year. Especially with Christmas season, plenty of time, new year and my birthday all within two weeks there are quiet a few reasons for a review.
End of December I came back from 4 weeks in Zanzibar and had family and friends time in the Swiss mountains. I love the difference between the winter and the tropical island and gives me the opportunity to get the best out both world.
One thing lacking in Zanzibar is education though. I am not talking about an European school or value system at all. I mean having enough basic knowledge to be able to form an own opinion. In contrast to that the local eduction focuses on stupid repetition only.
Therefor the only way to receive an ‚important‘ and/or ‚powerful‘ position later in life is through intransparency, misinformation or just force.
Most people in Zanzibar fit into one of the following roles, the dictating authoritative or the repressed person. Sometimes people are both depending on the situation. Both roles lead to a stagnation in society, which nobody enjoys. Almost everybody you ask, is unhappy about the lack of possibilities, the amount of wages being paid, the ongoing corruption, the inability of the officials and so on.
It is sad that although nobody likes the status quo, nobody is able or willing to change for the better. I belief that one major reason for that is education, which be it at home or at school consists mainly of two things: shut up and repeat.
Young people learn to sneak around, not getting caught and repeating what is expected without understanding why. Society is a mirror of that.
Now that I somehow slipped into being a Hotel owner in the most southern village in Zanzibar I asked myself what to do about it. I thought that I have the chance to either complain as well or do something about it and I chose the latter.
Back in Switzerland we founded the association „KIDZ individual development for Zanzibar“ K-I-D-Z.org and we are collecting donations to send as many kids from Kizimkazi as possible to a private non for profit school. At the moment private school seems to be the only form of education that makes a difference, at least until enough people become aware how important a decent education is and the public school system will start to improve.
If you want to support that idea, you can either head over to K-I-D-Z.org directly or support me on Patreon patreon.com/flohjoe where you will also support the children in Zanzibar as well as exclusive content from me.
I am on my way back to Zanzibar as I write this.
I left the island May 5th to travel to Toronto, Canada where I met Chris Thompson and Mike Mandel of MikeMandelHypsnosis.
On the one hand I was tired of the island, tired of the slow processes, tired of the officials who are just not willing to help for any process.
Often it seemed to me, as if people I worked with are only interested in their own corruption money and once you gave it to them forget about it immediately so you will have to start all over again.
As soon as you plan to make any fast progress it will be more than likely that you reach a point of frustration sooner or later.
On the other hand, I was so exited to go to Canada and was even more impressed to reach Canada, where it seemed to me, as if everybody was just friendly and helpful.
If there was kind of problem to appear, somebody came to immediate help. I even arrived at the airport with a number twist in my visa application. Somebody called the embassy and sorted it out.Even better was my one week training with Mike Mandel, where I had hoped to learn some insights and gadgets about Hypnosis. I thought that I might catch up some party gags that I could use to make people more curious about their unconscious mind.What I did not expect was such a profound and deep training into hypnosis as a coaching tool. We did not only learn how to hypnotize, but also how to utilize our learnings to help people improve their own life. While learning our own consciousness and unconscious mind improved dramatically.
After Canada I stayed in Germany for two weeks and then went on vacation in Ethiopia for three week where I had enough time to deepen the learnings of the one week in Canada.
Now I am on the way back to Zanzibar and am curious to see the Caveman Lodge again. It seems as if our team has done a great job and is well prepared for the Zanzibar summer. Some of the official documents that where missing when I left are still not processed, but I guess that is part of the deal when you get in exchange the life on a tropical island.Although I have experienced and seen so much, on Zanzibar almost nothing has changed while I was gone. When nothing is changing, or at least not with any recognizable speed, it just makes no sense to hurry up with whatever you are doing.So maybe, I am asking myself, there is nothing such as a universal time for all. Maybe time is only what we experience and everybody has its own.
Wherever you are, wherever you go. Take your time. What you make of now, is what you make of life.
I discovered my own kind of time distortion over the last 6 month. In the rearview they took for ever and I have no idea where they went and how all of that could have happened so fast.
Early May, shortly after Django suddenly died, as I wrote in the second last post, I left for Canada and my hypnosis training with Mike Mandel, followed by a stop over in Berlin and a nearly one month trip to Ethiopia (see my last post).
After Ethiopia we went back to Zanzibar to do the final preparation of the Lodge for the coming high season. Some stuff broke or collapsed in the very intense rainy season and had to be repaired.
We left end of June for Switzerland where Judy had to start her new job at Berns main hospital.
Since then we share a small apartment in Bern with another doctor. I jumped all the way into computer work. I was so happy to finally have sufficient internet again and jumped onto my new website since I had rebranded everything to Happylife.Coach, went for English only and planned to offer some downloadable products.
That meant a lot of time sitting in front of my computer in the smoking hot summer, it had been.
In between I tried to be in the mountains as much as possible and train for my ultra runs in the mountains and in Berlin. Training was a ton of fun and I enjoyed every moment out on the trails. The runs went not as good as expected and where a mental setback, leaving me surprised on how much I seemed to have lost while living on sea level for so long and having no possibility to train in the mountains.
Soon it was end of August and we discovered the possibility to get hold of a small mountain hut near Bern. Situated at 5250ft and with a stunning view we went for it immediately, not knowing yet how much work it would be. The house is not connected to any public infrastructure and will not even have a road for 6 months in the winter. I’ll write more about that in another post.
Mid September I offered the very first edition of the RIDING experience in Southern France and it was lovely and magnificent. We will go on the second tour in June 2018 while all of the lavender is blossoming.
Back in Switzerland I jumped head first into the work on our house Heidi, as it is called and left for edition #6 of the SAHARA experience mid October where I brought a film crew to shoot a little documentary about the tour. It was purely magic.
Nov. 1st I returned to Heidi (which can be booked through AirBnB now) in the mountains and am now day in and out working on the house to prepare it for the winter season. Already covered in snow I am very positive to be ready before I leave to Zanzibar 28th November to check back on the Lodge and prepare everything for the winter high season. It feels like the blink of an eye since I published the last blog post but looking back it seems an eternity since I left Zanzibar. I suppose that’s a good sign and am looking forward for a great winter season in the mountains… After returning from the tropical island.
As I am writing this I am sitting on the top of a mountain in northern Ethiopia (3300m). The town nearby is Lalibela and worldwide known for its wonderful churches that were carved out of the mountain. Some carved more than a thousand years ago.
Since I left Zanzibar about a month ago I have been traveling quite a bit. From Zanzibar I caught a plane to Addis Ababa, Ethiopia. We had the president of Zanzibar on board who went for some meeting to Addis. This gave us the wonderful opportunity to fly around and right over mount Kilimanjaro after having stopped at Kilimanjaro airport. From Addis I flew over Heathrow in London to Toronto, Canada. I had near been to Canada before and was positively surprised. I heard Canadians speak about Toronto, as if it wasn’t there most beautiful town and still I enjoyed it a lot.
Seemed to me as if it was a City in the US, just more green, more pedestrians and even friendlier. I stayed in Kensington market which gave me the opportunity to walk to University of Toronto early in the morning for class.
There I took a one week hypnosis training with Mister Hypnosis himself: Dr. Mike Mandel. To put it shortly, it was mind blowing and had the potential for changing life. Mine as well as those who will profit from these learnings in the future.
After that amazing week I flew to Berlin to meet my brother, some friends and take care of some stuff. Three days later I left for Cologne where I had another business training. I met my parents, grandma and a good friend and his family. After three days I left for Berlin again, where I met Alex Dahms of ‚One Million Good Thoughts’. We recorded a great interview for the next ‚One million Good Thoughts‘ edition this summer.
I also had to clean up my former office at ESCP Europe and had a little farewell party at the Campus, met some more friends I hadn’t seen in ages and went to business conference for digital nomads ‚DNX‘ organized by my podcast guest Markus Meurer. Great people, great audience, great day. It was definitely worth it.
Only eight hours after the ‚DNX‘ ended I was on my way to Frankfurt to catch a plane back to Addis Ababa, Ethiopia to meet Judy. We had planned to go on a three weeks vacation.
The winter season in Zanzibar was a dream that came true I would never want to miss. Still it was a whole lot of work. Judy doing her best in the Zanzibar health sector, working and teaching in three different hospitals and me building up the Lodge, mainly creating and installing processes.
When I go there I will do several things different, but for the first times I still had to learn a lot. Now I have a place at the Indian Ocean that keeps growing and expanding with a great team at work. And Judy will start her new position at the University Hospital Bern, Switzerland in July.
First it was time for some vacation for us. As I am planning some Ultra Mountain Races in Switzerland over the summer I wanted to be up in the mountains somewhere. Judy who has a personal history with Ethiopia wanted to visited the country for the first time in her life and since most of the country is above 2500m above sea level it was the place of choice. We started in Addis Ababa in a runners camp of Haile Gebrselassie whom you might know, then went on to Gonder and the Simmiens mountains for a week, where we went above 4000m for several times and I climbed the highest mountain in Ethiopia.
Now we are for some days at Lalibela to see the gorgeous historic monuments they crafted here decades ago. After we will visit Harare, the ancient muslim center of Ethiopia and then will go on to Zanzibar before we leave to Switzerland for the summer, where I will work on the online programs for happylife.coach.
I can tell you, as beautiful as traveling is, sometimes I need to rest a bit to be able to process all the learnings. I don’t know how it is in your life, but it might make sense to go for a change every once in while. And may it be only to become aware that you enjoy what you already have.
By now, it is a while ago that the story I am about to tell came to an end, a story about trust, thankfulness and the ability to let go.
I moved to Zanzibar for the winter 25th of October 2016. While still adapting to the island life and getting used to the work that needed to be done, to open our Lodge fully by December, we found somebody feeding on the garbage at one of the houses in the village.
It is quiet normal to see a lot of animals (well a lot of cats and every now and then a dog) searching for food. Amongst them are always a lot of kittens and puppies since pets don’t grow very old in Zanzibar and they reproduce quiet active.
There was a difference though. This time it was one single puppy and it didn’t run away in an instant. Although very afraid of humans he was curious enough to stay around and started playing with us in pure joy.
I posted a sentence the other day saying: „A friend is someone with a soul that resonates with your own.“
That was the sentence that came to my mind when I thought about that dog and how our relationship was going to evolve over the next 6 month. It happened to be, that we adopted that little skinny doggy and made him be our lodge masquot from that time on:
Back to November 2016:
I clear him from literally hundreds and hundreds of ticks, clean him all up and fead him as much as he likes.
Within hours he absolutely trusts us, changes his posture and his behavior towards people in general. Was he a scared and shy dog yesterday, he happens to have the sweetest character and turns out to be the Lodges happy soul.
Unfortunately he becomes very very sick during the first 3 week and becomes even skinnier during that time. I seriously fear that we might loose him right away and start to care of him 24/7. Now he is (other than planned) allowed to sleep inside the room and although that is very untypical in Zanzibar he is allowed to join us everywhere. From that day on he doesn’t miss a single tour to the mangroves, snorkeling or the island.
All of a sudden it is impossible to leave him anywhere alone. As soon as we try, he sneaks out and tries to us. I end up being accompanied on every step I take.
Although not planned before, I have a (dog)friend all of a sudden. He manages to survive his sickness and starts growing and growing.
He is coming with us on mainland trips, to Daressalam, lake Malawi, lake Tanganyika as well as on safaris. I guess, he might be one of the very few dogs in Tanzania to have ever been on a safari at all.
Now my biggest problem becomes the thought of leaving him on this own when I will leave Zanzibar for weeks and months. After all a travel by plane with a dog will not be the easiest and cheapest way to travel.
By March 2017 we have our current team for the Lodge complete, I give responsibility to the team, start to leave him with the team during the day and now he is allowed to leave the Lodge on his own, since he is not approaching other people anymore and always comes back on his own.
He starts sleeping next to the night-guard, is fed by our kitchen staff.
He remains the proudest dog in the village though. Always tail and head up. He is not afraid of anyone and still he somehow figures out to whom he could go and to whom not. I never see him near other people he doesn’t know. He goes to the beach with our guests and shows up on his own.
He has grown a lot and is around 7 month old. Everything seems to have worked out. I am confident, he will manage to be a happy dog when I leave. I am so happy that I will be able to come to Zanzibar and have Django waiting for me in the future.
By now it is end of April. The Lodge is up and running, the team is working smoothly, Django feels at home and does a lot on his own. In 7 day I will leave for a training in Canada and we are in the middle of the rainy season.
He still doesn’t like water and chills with Judy and me who doesn’t have to work to day all day long. It truly feels like he knows it is the last weekend together with both of us, as if he wants to say goodbye.
What I don’t know, is that is really is a goodbye. In the evening the sky clears up and it stops raining. Django runs out to chase the cat. I finish my dinner, turn around and there lies Django. Peaceful, without any sign of stress or pain, but dead.
We have no idea what happened and will never know…
So the last week in Zanzibar truly becomes a week of saying good bye. It feels like loosing a close friend and digging his grave in our little valley at Caveman Lodge is not how I pictured my last week here.
It becomes a week of facing my own fears, my own sadness and my own mistakes. Letting him go teaches me a lesson on life. Everything that comes, will go, it is just a matter of time. Don’t be attached and enjoy to the fullest what you want to enjoy, the moment you have it. When it leaves you, be thankful that you had it before. You will loose everything anyway, at the latest when it is time for you to go.
Enjoy now! Be thankful for what you have.
And a safe travel to Django…