Lost in Dar

LORD I am sleepy!!

My friend ML was in town for the weekend for some much needed R & R. I’ve just put her on the bus back home, and I miss her already!

I do need sleep, desperately, but I have to be at work in an hour…

Thursday afternoon was mostly spent catching up, coz I had taken the afternoon off to get her from the station. And then on Friday morning she was home alone while we went to work and school and stuff. I thought she’d stay home to rest, but she decided to go for a walk instead.

At 12 I get a text saying she’s lost and can’t remember the street name! I called her back immediately, but it turns out she had sent the text half an hour ago and was fine now. Apparently when the text took too long to cross the 500 metres between us, she got bright and asked some random people if they knew us, and was pointed straight to our gate. We are more recognized than I realised. They described us as the tall black dreadlocked girl who has a white dreadlocked baby. Tall? White? **grin** At least they got the hair right, but I think my neighbours may need to re-learn their adjectives…

So yesterday, ML and I went running errands. My niece was graduating Sixth Form, so I asked for the day off to attend. It was kind of an interesting ceremony. There was this Form 6 boy in the front row in a black suit and a yellow tie who gave a whole new definition to the term ‘Open wide’.

And there were lots of pretty girls in pretty dresses and pretty heels. There was this one pair, six inches high, open-toed and burgundy. Lord! I could have married those shoes right there!! Too bad I can’t actually walk in them, but I could drool. Drooooool!

There were these two kids who did a rendition of Jordan Sparks ‘One step at a time’, complete with the blocks strutting across the stage. Iiiinteresting. Then there was a troupe of kids who did a ngoma dance, there were about 10 of them, the lead drummer being a girl – all the rest were boys. They did this coordinated drum routine with some other kids dancing tradi in khangas with fake jembes. It was just beautiful. I like drums.

Then there was the dance.

Then there was the dance.

No, I didn’t repeat it by accident.

These four kids did a routine to ‘How low can you go.’ OK!!

First of all, these children were … well … let’s just say if I had a man, I wouldn’t let him near them. And even now that I don’t have a man, I still won’t let him near them. Wah!! They are – maybe 12 – 14 years old, but they completely redefine the word sizzle. They put the V in voluptuous. I’m talking African beauty. One particular girl, first, she was pretty, then she had hair. Alafu she was a D cup at least. With a teeny weeny waist and a good rear. Plus child-bearing hips. This one even puts a coke bottle to shame. I was drooling, and I’m straight!! Like Shinsky says, these days it is way too easy to turn paedophile.

And MAN can that kid dance!! She was doing all these rolls and twists and shakes and I was like daaay-yum!! The best part is that when she danced, it wasn’t indecent or even offensive. Parents were watching and they weren’t bugged or anything, and she was just in kawa pants and a t-shirt with a little cleavage showing, so she wasn’t ati provooocative, but she looked good.

I had a feeling she was toning down her moves to suit the audienace, and I’m pretty sure when she shakes it on an actual dancefloor, guys melt and girls claw. I need to take me some dance lessons. But mazee, that child! African queen mwenyewe. If she has a brain and a nice heart to go with all THAT, there really is no justice in the world.

Then we had cake and samosa and some deeeelicious mini pizzas. I get hungry on the memory alone. Sigh. We mingled kidogo, took the perfunctory pictures, listened to some teacher-bashing-parent speeches … we had an ocean view, so my eyes wandered a lot … and then we left. My nieces wanted to go watch a movie, so we dispatched the babies – Princess and another toddler – with my aunt, and agreed to meet up later.

ML and I headed into town, where she was pretty much the star of the dala-dala. We looked pretty stereotypical – the dreadlocked tour guide and the i-love-everything-about-dar tourist. But it was so fun each time some yokum made an idiotic ‘mzungu’ comment only for her to reply in impeccable Swa. How I love this girl. The jaw-drop moments were to die for!!

We did the bank, hair, had some sandwiches at Hadees then headed to Ubungo to buy a ticket. Of course we met the usual hawks swarming around and trying to confuse us by talking fast. Let me explain something. Ubungo is like Machakos bus station, so when you get in, people crowd you trying to sell you tickets to anywhere from China to Angola while their hands stray onto random body parts and items of luggage.

Now the best way to deal with people like that is to walk straight on and pretend not to understand. Trouble with me is I’m easily provoked. So I will speak to them, politely, say I have my ticket, and inevitably I will hear ‘Mkenya wewe.’

But today I had an extra attraction, ML. After the usual swarms, we found the office – ML found the office actually, I was too busy shooing off a certain pesky dude. Then of course the boy, thinking she doesn’t know Swa, starts speculating on her nationality, decides that she looks like a lot of fun, and suggests I ask her to have his babies. Uh-huh. I had a few choice words for the boy, and they all started with mchumba. I’d rather not say what they ended with. And he was looking at her funny.

ML has a wider sense of humour than mine, she found the six marriage proposals she got yesterday hilarious. Me, I was wishing I had my blunt rusty slasher with me.

Next we wanted to go to Mwenge to buy some gifts for her pals back home. We went to Ubungo bus station and boarded a Mwenge-Ubungo dala-dala. What I didn’t know is that at that time of day, dala-dalas divert. We ended up in some strange corner of UDSM next to Mama Ntilie – which is what we call those roadside tea-kiosks.

I asked the deeree for help, but he was like ‘wha’ever, chill we finish eating.’ I noted that while TZians are on the surface more polite than kenyans, a Kenyan matatu would never be so callous to lost foreigners. So many times I’ve seen an otherwise rowdy makanga stop the mat and put a lost person onto the correct mat, with careful instructions to drop at the right place. They even take you on a round trip, no extra charge and leave you at the right stage. I miss home

Anyway, ML has a far more adventurous spirit than me. So when the deeree suggested we walk if we didn’t want to wait, she was like fine. Never mind that we had no idea where we were or where we were going. ML was like, well, it’s still daytime, we know the language, let’s just walk in a straight line and see what happens. Heehee!

The only thing I could remember was a dirt road, so each time we reached one, I was like let’s turn here and she was like nope. Three dirt roads down we finally turned, and then we were in some trees and ML was like let’s pass here. It was a shortcut through some greenery, and her only reason for using it was that “the people walking there look happy. See, they’re smling”.

Plus she figured if worst came to worst, we could sleep in the campus dorms or catch a ride – it’s been done it before, she says. This chick is like superwoman at barely 5 foot 4. She’s one of the toughest girls I know, yet she has this innocence that is disarming. Very sanguine that one. So I was like okay, I’ll bite.

A few pretty boys and some interesting backpack tales later [ML is like the guru of intercontinental hitchhiking], we were back on the main road. Yay! Smart luck. Good too, coz I’d told her if it came to showing thumbs and getting into some random stranger’s car, she was on her own.

Ehe. Back on the main road and maybe an hour later we were finally at destination Mwenge. Now, to decide what gifts to buy for four boys! Wah! Stress! After walking in circles, we got some frilly headkerchiefs, a couple of bandanas, and some stuff in faux leather. Good. Last item on the agenda was a pair of sunglasses for the top boy.

It was dark now, and we wanted to get home before Princess was dropped off. Plus there was some guy hovering around trying to sell us back our virginity. Yes, that’s exactly what he said. He was standing next to one of those ‘Daktari Sumbawanga’ signs that claim to fix everything from money problems to size.

We were rather frazzled and rushed, so after we selected the glasses, decided the boy would like them, bargained, figured he was worth the expense and found out that the nearby bajajis were safe to rush home in, we left. We’d been driven maybe 200 metres when ML realised that she didn’t remember taking the shades. We had them, then the guy took them to pack them in a case, then he gave us the change, then we rushed across the road to the bajaji, but we couldn’t remember actually receiving the glasses. Crap!!

Anyway, we got home, discovered we’d bought air glasses for two hundred ksh [pretty expensive for a pair that didn’t exist!!], wondered why the guy hadn’t called us back. I mean surely he must have realised he was holding the things in his hand, yeah?! It was too late to go back, so we settled for perfume instead.

Now, buying perfume with someone who’s French is like shopping for guns with a cowboy. And the shopkeeper saw mzungu so all the stuff he was quoting was pricey. He’s new. The older shopkeeper usually lets me smell all the stuff before I buy it. But all we could do with this guy was look at unsealed bottles, none of which looked promising. Some I rejecetd on account of dumb names, dumb scents or dumb packets. In the end we just bought my scent. It’s a guy smell, it’s got a pretty bottle, and it looks more expensive than it is.

On the way out, I saw a pretty pink bottle. I like pretty bottles, so I forgave the colour. I asked what it was called, and the shopkeeper said ‘puuusiii’. Heheheh. There’s no way it was actually called that, so I asked for the bottle to see. ML read the name and burst out laughing. Pucelle.

And the writing was in Arabic.

I tried to smell the thing, but it was sealed, so I just bought it. Of course we tried to bargain the price. Of perfume. In a shop. Tsk tsk.

It actually ended up smelling quite nice, it’s a powdery-pink little-girl scent … I can’t think how else to describe it šŸ™‚ And by the by, what do you call perfume for boys? Cologne?

Now the shopkeeper knows some English, but he couldn’t really follow our conversation. Lakini when he saw ML laugh, and saw my reaction to the translation of ‘puusiii’, he asked me what it meant. I told him. He got such a strange expression on his face that ML asked me to retranslate to her what I had just translated to him.

Pucelle is French for virgin. šŸ™‚

I need to run to work now. Here’s a toast to a perfect day. The only thing that would’ve made it better is if Mo had been with us. Next time we’ll kidnap you hun, and be sure to bring the cheesecake, ML has convinced me that it’s worth a taste. So you will join our next adventure and bring gateau du fromage, non?

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2 Responses

  1. Just saw this; I was lol’ing from the start. As for her sense of adventure, you could drop ML in the middle of Kibera at night and she’d end up getting board with some kind family, making friends with 5 other families and safely getting to wherever she wanted to a few days later. She’s some form of ‘sweet hardcore’.

    Next time, just kidnap me. I’ll thank you later.

    deal !

  2. Interesting read.

    About that 14 year old with a D-cup and gyrating moves..me is envious. I would love to dance.

    we should take lessons, yeah? šŸ™‚

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