Bagamoyo, which means “Lay down your heart”, was once the trading capital of Tanzania. There were two different intepretations of the name: “Be free, oh my heart, and rest from your endeavours.”, is the cry of the porters who carried the goods in the caravan. “Throw your heart away: There’s no more hope now.”, is the cry of the slaves when they lined up to leave the mainland, where many of them died.
They say that the area of the Customs House was known as a place where you could hear cries of the waiting slaves. Now, after more than a century only old ruins indicating the historical events, commemorating the pain. Not only you saw shabby buildings everywhere, you came across so many homeless people calling the ruins their home, like they were persons incarnating the past.
I met a group of four homeless persons, dwelling in the ruins of the Customs House, preparing some Ugali out of maize flour and seawater in an old dirty pot. Even though it was their only meal for today, they invited me to join them and were really happy to meet me. I was so overwhelmed by their hospitality, transporting the soul of the old Customs House.