means gift and in this culture gifts are HUGE!! Like every time you go anywhere all your friends tell you to lete zawadi or bring a gift back. I found out that they really mean it after going to Dar once for work and not bringing anything back…I was sooo busted! At first I thought this was terribly rude but once I realized it really is a universal thing that you bring gifts for people whenever you go on a trip (and honesty I expect J or close friends to bring me a little something when they go somewhere…I guess people here just have no shame in asking straight up for it). And I have even been known to ask for a few zawadi’s these days 🙂 After my trip to another island I became very popular around here. Anyone who knew someone from that island seemed to call me, bring said friend or relative over, or ask me when I was going back. Seriously several people I do not even know have asked about my trip. When my girlfriend came back last week she called and said she had a gift for me from one woman we stayed with in the village. She came over the next morning with this wrapped in newspaper:
No matter what the container was previously used for it is ALWAYS able to be re purposed and I knew I had to open it to really know what was in there. There was super spicy and yummy pili pili (hot pepper) sauce (or achree) made with limes, salt, hot peppers, cumin, etc. I loved it while we were there and the Mama had made a big old batch and my friend carried it back on the ferry for me. I had to transfer it to glass jars because mentally it was weird to eat something out of a hair treatment tub but these days we are enjoying a little of my zawadi everyday with our rice. Yummy!