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Isio Knows Better: On The Way To Zanzibar, I Mused & Coughed



imageI stood at the Ebola-screening post as erect as possible.

Every time an airport official had to point that Ebola-screening machine to my forehead I prayed to God by all His sweet names that the vengeful cough did not strike me ruthlessly and unexpectedly again – just because I did the humane thing two days before by using half a gigantic can of (a very potent) insecticide to kill a cockroach, instead of squashing it against my floor with a shoe. I could have swung that shoe with such malicious force that would stun a cow.

I shuddered at the horrible accompanying visual.

Cock-roaches were not my favourite things. At all. Even though I was convinced I had done a humane thing, the consequence of being in such close proximity to the gaseous emission that had finally killed the roach after some ten-odd minutes (it was a hard insect to kill- that one), meant that I had inhaled some of the poison, which had somehow robbed me of my voice and left me with a sore-throat that came with its other principality- a rumbling cough. The only good thing about that was that it came without a fever/head-ache.

It was not a good time to be asked any questions at the airport, I reckoned- and kept my face passive and my stance regal as my temperature was taken.

Click-click the machine went, and 35.9oC was scribbled on my health form after inspection of my yellow-fever card. I was given a safe Ebola-free bill of health, and off I was to discover Tanzania and indeed, Zanzibar. That little island was to be my home for the next several weeks.


Why not? It is not uncommon for an artist to have an adventurous spirit, and I just go with my flow. Work-work-work, save, put your house in order, pick a destination and off you go- until you return to the grind. I simply decided it was time to leave the city of my birth and explore another land. The choices were limited; it was January after all, so Europe and the Americas were out of it. I hadn’t toured Asia/Middle East yet, and Australia seemed oh-so-far-away to me. For some reason Madagascar seemed synonymous to supernatural penguins, so I settled on Zanzibar.

Pulling myself back from my musings, I settled in for a good enough time on the plane – in spite of that one wailing infant and the bland potato meal that was sprawled on that which was called the food-tray. It was offered to me by a smiling air-hostess. No-I-don’t-want-wine-either-thank-you-very-much. I smiled back at her and shook my head from side to side. Peeping at my neighbour’s tray convinced me that I wasn’t missing much. From what I could see (from the veins on his forehead) as he tried to swallow a bite of bread, it looked as dehydrated as the bread the Israelites must have taken to the desert while fleeing the wrath of the Egyptians.

I no chop abeg. I simply decided to open my laptop to watch the SCI-FI Series Defiance when the wicked cough gripped me unexpectedly…
Krum-krum-krummmmmm-krummmmm—gbu-gbu—gbuuuuu…. K-kkk-kkkrrrrr—kruuuuuMMMM!

Yikes! This one could not be silenced, I jeje-ly doubled over and tried to cough with dignity. All I got for my effort was a heady-blood rush and stingy tears to my eyes. After the retching-cough episode, I peeked hesitantly through the strands of my weave (now covering my face) to see if I had attracted more attention than was worth for my trouble (of bothering to annihilate that insect). Walahi, If I had known that ‘fleeting’ that cockroach would cost me my voice, I would just as happily have smashed it – with a shoe.

But it was too late to regret the past.I looked around me and saw that I had indeed attracted the attention and alacrity of a middle aged European woman who had her reading-glasses perched on her nose, and was staring at me from across the aisle like I was a plague. She looked about ready to jump up and march straight to the cock-pit and report me to the pilots and Air-Marshall as a possible bio-hazardous threat.

I in turn did the next best thing- I looked at her and exaggerated my chest-clutching moves as I finished coughing my cough. (Mouth covered of course) And then I opened a pack of Strepsils and popped a lozenge into my mouth and then smiled at her oh-so-sweetly.

She ignored me after that.

And that was how I got to Zanzibar, easy-peasy. Though I was among the minority (that is: the ratio of blacks to whites in the airport at that time), I wasn’t singled out for further inspection or harassment just because I was Nigerian- unlike my experience in Mauritius.

I must say that Zanzibar is quite refreshing, and the food is just divine! I went to Stone Town first (which I didn’t like so much, as the locals were not very friendly), before leaving for Jambiani beach. I have decided to stay here and have rented a bungalow over-looking the Indian Ocean. I will live, write and work from here until the precise time I have to be back home to commence my new design projects and shoot the campaign ads as the Face of an international Denim company.

*doing my chicken shoki-dance* (Hints on my IG page)

I love travelling, I really do. Often-times I am asked why I like it so much or how I can afford it as if saving the thousands of dollars we use to buy different weaves quarterly would not buy you a decent holiday somewhere… (I also addressed this in my Mauritius post for BN here) and the simple truth is that people will always spend money on different things.

Some people like to acquire expensive material things and possessions: designer this-and-that, jewellery and possessions, while some just like to collect great experiences and good memories. I am one of the latter. And so I travel, I tour. I leave every seemingly important distraction behind and just enjoy being myself- at that moment, in appreciation of the good health and life still had- in spite of the crippling hustle of city life. It is priceless.

Shocked, and in seemingly great concern, some would diligently remind me that it was such an un-African thing to do… especially for an African-born female. To this, I reassuringly remind them of their options… as in all things, one must choose that which serves one best. A.K.A “To each their own”.

“Come to think of it, who is an authority on the authentic social choices of the modern black folk?” I mused, perched snuggly in the outdoor hammock outside my temporary home.

Me I no know o. For now I am just enjoying the questions. Hopefully, someday, decades from now we will be lucky enough to look back on our lives with happy smiles and say, ‘‘Yes, we did live a great life, for a human being’’. Not, ‘‘Oh well, I suppose I lived a good black life…’’

And so I lay there happily, underneath that big ol’ tree and drifted into a soft, sweet slumber.

Isio De-laVega Wanogho is a Nigerian supermodel, a multi-award winning media personality and an interior architect who is a creative-expressionist at her core. She uses words, wit and her paintings to tell stories that entertain, yet convey a deeper meaning. Follow her on Instagram @isiodelavega and visit her website: to see her professional body of work.


  1. honest one

    January 27, 2015 at 9:44 am

    #sighs. How i would love to travel. P.S please is there any1 who paid for honeymoon or some trip and have split with the person. m willing to be a companion/friend and hold your hand through that lonely trip. hit me up yo!!! lool


    January 27, 2015 at 9:49 am

    I love travelling too. My siblings worry that I travel a lot. When my father complains, I tell him that I am going for a Course. When I come back, he will say,” you have finished the course now now”. I will laugh and he will say ,”you should not deceive your father”. I will say, “dad, you want the truth but you cannot handle the truth”. I love travel memories. I love meeting people.
    My usual challenge is travelling alone. But once I get to my destination, I mingle and socialize.
    Isio, I am thinking of Zanzibar now. You have made my travel spirit possess me again. Enjoy your trip and don’t answer all questions people ask you about your own life. People use themselves to judge others.

    • jane

      January 27, 2015 at 12:28 pm

      am just like you. we should hook up:)

  3. Georgia

    January 27, 2015 at 9:50 am


    I am glad you liked Zanzibar. Are you still there? I am your fan, staying in Dar es Salaam and would very much like to meet you in person.


    • Malaïka

      January 28, 2015 at 1:58 am

      Hi, I arrived in Dar two weeks ago and will start working in Zanzibar next week. We could link up 🙂

  4. Naijasinglegirl

    January 27, 2015 at 9:56 am

    I will return to comment proper when I leave the shores of my village or when I finally enter an herrroprane.

  5. Neo

    January 27, 2015 at 10:03 am

    When i say we are kindred spirits now, it will be as if i am famzing. I even have this krum krum cough to boot and since my co-tenants are ants and cockroaches, i use insecticide more than deodorant so that may explain the cough which will soon celebrate its 2nd week birthday.

    Anyways, i looooooove to travel and not the typical mainstream holiday destinations aka Jand and Yankee. I love that Nigerians are rediscovering Africa and the wonders of our very own backyard. I went to Tokyo last year and fell in love, i mean i could move there and exist solely on hand gestures and broken English. I collect fridge magnets from my travels and my plan to have visited all 7 continents b4 i hit 30 can still work out if i do South America and Australia this year! That Australia far get as e be sha…. Enjoy Zanzibar!

    • Ufuoma

      January 27, 2015 at 2:14 pm

      Me too, I collect fridge magnets! My boyfriend thinks it’s strange but he knows that I love them,so if we are not travelling together he brings me one from where ever he is visiting

    • TA

      January 27, 2015 at 2:44 pm

      Neo ooo get out of my head. Lol! I have the same Baygon-induced sorethroat/cough at the moment. I I never found the Roach, I took my room apart literally speaking but I never found it. Now am thinking,maybe the Cockoach left my place for Isio’s.
      @Isio if the Roach that bothered you arrived at yours on Sunday evening… well, now you know where it came from. Lmao
      @ Neo you should see my fridge! Even places I have never been to sef. I make sure friends bring back a magnet for me. There are plenty South America countries just begging for attention, think Brazil, Venezuela, Colombia etc etc. But you should try Machu Pichu in Peru. It is simply breathtaking and there is plenty of history behind the Incas and their empire., think Amaru Shakur…Coming into Machu Picchu from the Sungate at sunrise allows you to relive the majesty and beauty of the lost city. You should see it really. 🙂

  6. Ada Nnewi

    January 27, 2015 at 10:16 am

    I love new experiences and i absolutely love to travel…I splurge on experiences, spa treats, holidays and exotic food when i can… It’s also awesome that le boo understands my need for adventure and gives me the freedom to get away on short solo trips when i begin to feel cagey….

  7. Glowing Sapphire

    January 27, 2015 at 11:05 am

    Your escapade is so inspiring! I really never thought much about traveling by myself though, still working at the savings part. Your vacation pictures made me feel like I was there but only in my mind. I must commend you using your life as a template for some of us to look forward to, either for laughs or for some girlie-ol-advice. Thanks a bunch! Vacay mode activated buh hoping it doesn’t take years for my “trips”

  8. God's best

    January 27, 2015 at 11:25 am

    Oh Isio my Isio, wish I could get away right now. It’s so bad I’ve been checking out ticket prices online but I can’t afford a holiday right now with home front financial pressure and my babies is in school, I pray at some point a miracle happens before I lose it. Lol. Enjoy dear

  9. x-factor

    January 27, 2015 at 11:31 am

    hehehehehe……sister Isio…

    “I have decided to stay here and have rented a bungalow over-looking the Indian Ocean. I will live, write and work from here until the precise time…..”

    and enjoy your “VAC-ELECTION” 2015…….lol ( just kidding)

    • jcsgrl

      January 27, 2015 at 2:59 pm

      Ha ha ha ha ure evils

  10. Belios

    January 27, 2015 at 11:42 am

    I love new experiences as well. Isio you are such a wonderful person from your write ups,. Keep telling us about your trips. I enjoy reading all and all that you have to offer us. Enjoy Zanzibar.

  11. x-factor

    January 27, 2015 at 11:45 am

    hehehehehe……sister Isio…
    “I have decided to stay here and have rented a bungalow over-looking the Indian Ocean. I will live, write and work from here until the precise time…..”
    and enjoy your “VAC-ELECTION” 2015…….lol ( just kidding)

  12. missiey

    January 27, 2015 at 11:54 am

    Awww now y’all have got my eyes filled with tears. I loveeeee travelling and have done a considerable bit within Nigeria but can’t wait for the day I’d cross the border (even to Niger sef lol). Isio enjoy Zanzibar!

  13. Priscy

    January 27, 2015 at 11:59 am

    I love travelling but I am yet to leave the shores of this great country. I am saving now tho to make sure I have a good holiday when I take my leave this year. It’s going to be either Zanzibar or Dubai or UK. The final savings will decide where.
    For now I just dey envy you….you travelled at the right time, away from all the polical madness going on.
    Enjoy your self darlyn

  14. jane

    January 27, 2015 at 12:29 pm

    am just like you. we should hook up:)

  15. iyke

    January 27, 2015 at 1:07 pm

    Nice one lady. Alone, but not lonely. I also appreciate the joys of being out in the world on my own. Just back from Phuket and the feeling is out of this world.
    Have fun in Zanzibar and make sure you keep the friends you make along the way.

    • D

      January 27, 2015 at 5:22 pm

      Learned Thailand is great $$$ for experience. Planning Chang Mai and Bali. Would rather do Morrocco and portugal but after putting pen to paper and bank account to paper Thailand-Bali is winning. I like to combine 2 neignbouring countries.

    • Meah

      January 27, 2015 at 5:37 pm

      @iyke, was in Phuket with my pals recently too and it was ah-mazing!! Thailand really opened my eyes and sharpened my thirst for travel and adventure. Sure, the visa process was hectic and my savings account took a dent but it was worth every naira. My advise to anyone looking to travel? plan early, save smartly.

  16. tutu

    January 27, 2015 at 1:39 pm

    I’m so jealous right now. *sigh*

  17. babygiwa

    January 27, 2015 at 1:40 pm

    Awwwwwww, i like today’s post. Easy, laid back and sweet! Enjoy yourself dear, and don’t bother explaining yourself to others except to people that are really close and wish you well. To each his own. Everyone should have a fabulous week!

  18. me

    January 27, 2015 at 2:56 pm

    isio my crush you have inspired me with this your tale, I promise myself that I will travel this year. I will do it. I will travel, I will myself to a vacation treat, (places my right palm on my chest) So help me God!!

  19. jcsgrl

    January 27, 2015 at 3:01 pm

    Aww Isio I’m soo jealous! What I will give for a nice vacay right about now. Chai I’m even imagining the hammock you’re lying on outside the beach. Chei itz well. Enjoy jare and bring me back my article oooo…..I still dey wait

  20. Frances Okoro

    January 27, 2015 at 3:19 pm

    Oh, the life…
    Travel by yourself, create sweet memories and have fun with yourself
    Enjoy Isio! 🙂

  21. Menoword

    January 27, 2015 at 3:36 pm

    Isio I treated myself to a solo Zanzibari holiday last year and it was the best week I have had in ages. I got all the ‘Why is a single black woman travelling alone” looks and comments, but it in no way spoiled the wonderful adventure.

    I am already planning my next trip later this year, just like you, I like to collect experiences and memories and I am so glad I am finally able to do some of the things I have always dreamed of. Have an awesome time!

  22. Africhic

    January 27, 2015 at 3:48 pm

    Zanzibar is a lovely place. Went there last Easter, i agree with you about Stone Town.

  23. D

    January 27, 2015 at 6:38 pm

    Solo travelling not my thing and i actually have a sense of respect for people that can actually pack their bags and just go by themselves like my sister…I am glad I am married so i have a life companion to go on this trips with and thank goodness he loves travelling too.

  24. Dd_poet

    January 27, 2015 at 6:57 pm

    Lol, all these ajebo sef. Anyway sha, the only place I can boast of travelling to is Jos, hehe, through ‘Ijora’ airport. Maybe when I travel to Iraq, Il come back to comment properly.

    • ogeAdiro

      January 27, 2015 at 11:15 pm

      Me sef haff tire ohhh…lol

  25. Mz Socially Awkward....

    January 27, 2015 at 10:26 pm

    Okay, I shall have to admit it – when any of my female friends embark on solo trips, I panic for Africa from the time they leave until when they finally (and safely, thanks be to God) return. I just never feel comfortable about them exploring a strange, foreign country on their own. Especially the ones where they also speak a foreign language and thus increasing my fears that you might get sold into modern day slavery without realising it (blame the movie “Taken” for that particular worry). One of my good pals went holidayed alone in Thailand last year and she was ordered to check in via social media (IG) every day so that we could assure ourselves of her whereabouts. Especially that Thailand with its innumerable islands and the news that keeps coming out of it regarding vacationers going missing…

    The media has shown me again and again that female travellers tend to be prime targets for the kinds of criminals who prey on unsuspecting tourists … and yes, I know that’s akin to saying “Because planes have been known to drop out of the sky, nobody should travel by air anymore”…. but, I still have real fears. About both scenarios. And that primary reason of paranoia is why I’ll never be able to truly enjoy a solo holiday myself as I’ll probably spend a great portion of it profiling all the other guests as well as the hotel staff to determine which one might be out to get me (again, please blame “Taken”)…

    So, enjoy your holiday Miss De La V but please, use ya warri street smarts and keep a beady eye out for the baddies, biko! Plus, check in with those who love you during your time away in case one of them is a professional worrier like me. xx

    • Isio De-laVega

      January 28, 2015 at 1:05 pm

      Awwwwww, that’s so sweet. Sometimes we take for granted the worry the ones who love us must have when we decide to wander off. I sure will do. *now running off to check in with my fam* Thanks M.SA #mwaaaaah!

  26. lovin moi

    January 28, 2015 at 9:16 am

    Neva knew I had kindred spirits when it comes to travelling,hubby will hear non of these travelling solo things but this year I’m saving every dime so I can go for a course SOLO,he wouldn’t even want to hear I went to the cinema alone,i have to sneak away to get a little me time away from him and tthe kids,cos dealing with my squad on vacations alone ain’t easy,so this year i’ll love myself enough to go for a course/rest like hubby does! #smarter me#

  27. blessing

    January 31, 2015 at 4:30 pm

    I love travelling too but for now I need to work harder and save for future trips. Thanks. Isio

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