A city is a city no matter what country you’re in. I’ve never been a huge fan, they kind of break my heart. There are still the fine dressed who ignore the beggars with missing limbs, fancy shops and holes in the walls. Children run around causing trouble… Picking on the “monzungu” who say “mambo” and laugh funny. Corn seems to be the top choice of street food snackage, there were old cobs and people cooking it over coals on the street everywhere.
The sheer amount of people on the street trying to sell things is amazing… Totally overwhelming. My instant reaction is to get them away as soon as possible. That just stressed me out though so I just started chatting with them instead. Trying to learn the ropes of bargaining is tricky for me. I’m sure I’ll get the hang of it soon. Like I tell most people, I have a learning curve! Praying I adjust to everything ASAP so I can experience as much as I can.
I long to have real relationships with these people… Not just to be the monzungu they want to sell stuff too. I know that is something that takes time. I can’t wait to become part of their… I don’t have a good word for it… amazing? beautiful? not the right word… I’ll find the right word eventually… community. I’m so excited!!
We definitely attracted a nice crowd. They’re actually kind of funny… after the hundredth time you say “asante sana” (they say “Who told you to say that!?”) they give up, but they don’t leave. They have the tenancy to just hang around, then their buddies come, and their buddies’ buddies come and soon there’s a small posse. Telling jokes in a language I hope I will some day I want to understand (it literally drives me nuts that I can’t understand them!), cat calling at the women that walk by. A ten year old boy was being shown the ropes by another man, he was not quite as persistent… one “asante sana” was enough then he’s run back to his mother. He has yet to learn the lesson of diligence that pays the bills.
We went to a cloth shop and we talked to Joseph, he is 24 year old. He was interesting, he wasn’t selling anything. Maybe he was working for the cloth shop. He loved asking all of us questions. He said Michigan like “Meecheegeen.” The small shop smelled like B.O. that is unique to Arusha and their fabric was piled all the way up to the ceiling. I bought a kanga, its a beautiful piece of fabric for about 15000 tsh (about $10). For some reason they gave me a discount (everybody else paid 20000!). A woman will come tomorrow who’ll make us anything we want. I’m going for a backpack!
There’s a million things I saw today! I think my favorite thing I saw were people holding hands. Tanzanians hold hands. Students, mothers, sons, friends, brothers, sisters, everybody! I appreciate how loving these people are. Can’t wait for tomorrow!