Seaweed foraging with Bi Safia

Seaweed is in. Seaweed is hot. Seaweed is getting scarcer on Zanzibar island.

This is really tough for the local forage ladies on the South – East coast of Paje and Jambiani but also on the west coast of Bweleo..

Bi Safia is an experienced seaweed farmer and herbalist from Bweleo, Zanzibar and has been a personal friend of our sister Mrembo Spa for many years where she delivers her Spinosium seaweed for their natural beauty products.

This humble, yet extremely experienced and knowledgeable lady is not only one of the few female successful entrepreneurs, but also self taught and impressively informed about the medicinal uses of the indigenous plants and herbs of the Swahili coast.

On our foraging experience she shares her knowledge with us which is translated by our guide.

The “Mpamba wake” leaves are mixed with lemongrass to create a delicious and refreshing herbal tea.

Other leafy vegetables are cooked into a hearty dish of spinach with coconut.

A day with Bi Safia is never boring as she always comes up with a new dish and must add some seaweed for the extra boost of vitamins and antioxidants.

She first dries the seaweed in the sun for a few days and than boils it in hot water after which its is blended into a kind of paste which is mixed into the different dishes including freshly baked buns, a traditional “Katchumbari” salad with lime juice and chili, a vegetable stew and others.

On the road to Fumba she has a little shop where she sells her seaweed jam, soaps and body butters containing seaweed as well as beautiful mother of pearl ear rings made by her women’s cooperative from the village of Bweleo.