A trip to Nairobi and eventually Zanzibar would change the perspective that Jessica Myers has for Africa. Myers is a young American black hotel owner – one of the few helping African communities.
Just from a trip down to Zanzibar, Myers has a connection with the local communities. It is a part of her effort to bolster communities in Zanzibar and other parts of Africa.
A real estate developer by business – among other things including running a hotel chain – Myers is fully entrepreneurial.
What is intriguing is how she arrived in Kenya and later in Zanzibar where she fell in love with Africa.
How Did Jessica Myers Come to Nairobi?
Sometime before August 2021, Myers and her pals visited Zanzibar as part of a two-week girls’ trip that began in Nairobi, Kenya.
The trip was to celebrate her best friend’s as well as the debut of a new travel platform for the group.
For the first time, Jessica Myers had the opportunity to witness Kenya’s “local side” and the development in Nairobi.
She tells Travel Noire that she would not believe that Nairobi would be this stunning. Watching zebras running freely through Nairobi National Park while seeing enormous structures on the horizon is an unrivalled experience.
How Did Jessica Myers End Up in Zanzibar?
Before heading to Zanzibar, the group stayed in Nairobi for two days before leaving for Zanzibar.
At first, they lived in a distant corner of the town but they wanted to see the city from a new angle. The group reserved a stunning 7,000-square-foot villa with water views after reaching out to a friend of a friend.
During their stay, they had a dedicated chef, butler, and two Maasai warriors who kept watch over them.
Why Did Jessica Myers Decide to Give Back to Communities in Zanzibar?
It is while in Zanzibar that Myers and her girls established a deep connection with their driver. His rapport amazed them and they would invite him for dinner.
Over supper, the driver entertained their Myers with her group of ladies to tales of Zanzibari life.
But this particular story touched Myers so much that it triggered her communal connection with Zanzibar.
The driver narrated how a husband abandoned his wife and children following an arranged marriage. He [the driver] took on the responsibility of sending the woman $40 from every one of his paychecks to assist her care for her family.
Myers friend’s non-profit organization, Favor Friday Inc. chose to help the mother and her family and the entire hamlet.
“Just seeing that, and knowing the resources I have access to through my platform, it really moved me to want to do more. And, it’s not just about developing buildings,” Myers opines.
“My belief is that, if you first develop the people, they will then have the tools and knowledge to develop the buildings, and ultimately create an entire sustainable ethos.”
What Does Jessica Myers Plan for Zanzibar?
Although Myers defines the project as “primative,” she expects its completion in the next five to ten years. She intends to meet with local leaders in Zanzibar to determine the most pressing issues.
She says that bringing knowledge and resources from abroad matching the instincts of the community, would help. Myers cites that with such a move, the world will see Zanzibar in a different way because community development precedes communal development.
Where in Zanzibar Did Jessica Myers Enjoy Most?
At one point, she had the opportunity to see one of the remaining slave ports in the area. While working on a project in the U.S she’s ironically located near a former slave port.
As she put it, developing and owning places where our ancestors were formerly sold is “very unacceptable.”
Stone Town has a lot of historical relevance not just for Zanzibar but the entire East Africa. It was the main slave-trading hub back in the day and this remains dark history.
It is a reminder for Africans that the current independence they enjoy came at a huge cost.