“I am woman, take my tour!”
Zanzibar, Tanzania, Africa. Ok soooo… Aiysha – the first certified and employed female tour guide in Zanzibar, didn’t say or sing this, but in my silly head I couldn’t help but think of the 1971 song by Helen Reddy, “I Am Woman”.
First two lines of the song are:
I am woman, hear me roar
In numbers too big to ignore
Meet Aiysha Mohammed, the first employed, certified female tour guide in Zanzibar, East Africa!
Now do you get it? “I am woman..take my tour…” No? Read on….
Evidently, as a woman it is easy to become certified as a tour guide in Zanzibar if you have the skills that Aiysha has, but to obtain employment is a different story.
Zanzibar, with its beautiful year-round weather and amazing beaches has been on my list of must-go places for a while. I hadn’t thought much about Zanzibar until recently, when I stumbled upon a Facebook group called, “Girls LOVE Travel” and noticed a young woman by the name of Aiysha Mohammed.
She had posted a picture of herself with a caption of “First Certified Female Tour Guide in Zanzibar” that captured my attention just as much as her striking smile!
First Certified Female Tour Guide in Zanzibar? Hmm. (cue background music…”I am Woman”)
Aiysha’s post was something to be proud of and to become the first female tour guide in Zanzibar sounded like this wasn’t something that was “easy” to do.
Naturally, I had to find out more because I am naturally
Aiysha was kind enough to answer a bunch of questions sent to her by a curious American.
CaSandra – “Why did you choose to become a tour guide?”
Aiysha wasn’t aware that there even was such a thing as a tour guide, but because of her English language skill, this helped her to pass the tour guide examination. She learned English in elementary school and speaks it very well. Originally, she wanted to be a teacher.
CaSandra – “If you only had one minute to describe what it is like living in Zanzibar, what would you say?”
Aiysha – “I can say Zanzibar is beautiful place and peaceful. I feel proud.”
Aiysha has lived in Zanzibar all her life and was only away for about 2 years when she lived in Oman where she worked as a maid. As a lifetime resident, she has plenty to share about Zanzibar’s beaches and lifestyle.
You can get a glimpse for how beautiful Zanzibar is by looking at Aiysha’s pictures on her Facebook Tour Page: Aiysha’s Adventures.
CaSandra – “Why is it difficult for women to become tour guides in Zanzibar?”
Aiysha – “To be certified is not difficult, but to get job as a tour guide is difficult because most tour guides are men.”
Of course, in my naïve mind I am thinking maybe the men just didn’t want a girl invading their “club”…but now that I think about the many tours that I have been on, none of them have been with a female tour guide.
In fact, I don’t really notice too many women in the tourism industry and if they are remotely involved, they are usually selling their hand-made goods to tourists, braiding someone’s hair or they are selling tickets to a museum.
Being a female traveler, I suppose being escorted through a strange city by another female is probably the safer option. This includes drivers of hotel transfers and such, too. I mean…why haven’t I sought out companies primarly owned and operated by women when I have traveled?
*I’m making a mental note of this epiphany and while doing this, I did a quick Google search and found this site called: Equality in Tourism.
I had no idea there was a whole organization that helps to promote equality in tourism. And now I understand the need for it. If a country relies heavily on tourism, then women should be able to share in those benefits. No brainer.
Onto my next question.
CaSandra – “On the Girls Love Travel Facebook group, you announced that you were the first certified female tour guide in Tanzania and that you went through many challenges? What were some of those challenges?”
Aiysha – “First tour company they won’t want me, they won’t give me clients because they don’t trust women and specially because I’m the first. Men – they was think I’m selling myself, some of my family they was don’t want me to play in that part.”
My heart dropped a bit when I read her response. As a woman who has spent many years in a primarily male-dominated industry, I have had my own challenges, but I can’t imagine how I would feel if someone assumed that I was selling that type of “service”. Ugh.
So, there you have it. Getting the certification is one thing, but she had difficulty in convincing a company that she is not a prostitute trying to sell herself to tourists. I still can’t even imagine what this would be like…so please, if you are thinking about visiting Zanzibar, take a tour with Aiysha to not only show her your support, but because she does provide an excellent service.
A tour guide service and according to her reviews, an excellent one!
Please like Aiysha’s page at: Aiysha’s Adventures where you can contact her about any questions you may have or to book a tour.
And to get a quick overview about Zanzibar, read, “About Zanzibar“.
Congratulations, Aiysha and we hope to see you soon!