This is a story documenting kids playing in the low tides of Nungwi beach in northern Zanzibar. This work is rather very personal and reports an indirect reflection to a very unpleasant incident that occurred about one hour after arriving to the island. A boy, 9 years old, suddenly ran infront of the taxi I was sitting in. The boy gets hit and his body gets thrown away to the side of the road. Seconds later, a total chaos arises where we try desperately to help the boy. The little kid was quickly rushed to a hospital where he later past away from his injuries. The incident was so shocking that it throw me completely and instantly beyond reality and into something very surreal.
Being a photographer, just the thought of picking up the camera seemed incredibly strange and illogical after the incident. It took almost a week to feel comfortable just to snap some simple photos. To that point, every single thought of how the incident could had been prevented and what I could do for the boys family and relatives went through my head. But only to realize that there wasn't anything to be done.
Thats when I met the kids playing in the tide water. At first, I didn't know what it was, but I was immediately attached and got externally fascinated by the kids. Its not that there was something extraordinary these kids was doing, but quite the opposite. Somehow, I found myself joining the kids every singel day out on their small exploration trips after the first tide had drown back and in search of new adventures. The kids would collect different shellfishes, catch poisonous sea snakes or just pick seaweed for the turtles. The giant surface that opened up each morning after the first tide water became a playground where the kids could meet and play together and show of what they had collected during the day. There might be very little or maybe even nothing extraordinary about this. But what I soon came to release is that all of this was reflecting to what happened the day I arrived to the island. It became a way for me to manage and handle the distress that was caused by the incident. I couldn't help to wonder if the 9 year old kid somehow might had knew the kids I was spending every single day with. I thought of who he was, what did he like to do and who would he had become. I was also constantly thinking of his family and their enormous loss. I thought of what my part was in all of this.
In all of these emotions and thoughts, it came more clearly that somehow spending my days with the kids between the tides became the only way to do what was in my power. By documenting the kids, I wanted to show their friendship and how they included me as a friend in their everyday adventures, their sense of courage, their inventiveness and their skills, and most importunely, it became a way to somehow get to know who the 9 year old kid was who didn't make it cross the road that day.