A day of sounds

dar-view-topOne of my first discoveries in a new place are its sounds, unknown, unusual and sometimes unsettling.

In Dar it was first the early morning sweeping that woke me.

Ladies start every single day cleaning their compound. With the endless dust, it is obviously part of daily life here.

Then there are the regular calls from the mosques nearby starting around 04:00, with the last one around 20:00.

It was strange to me in the beginning but these days I find the rhythm and reliability comforting as calls will never fail, independent of weather, water or power.

During the day, various business people walk the roads and call out their goods and services.

There’s the man with a large basket on his bike with greens calling, ‘mboga mboga, mchicha, matembele

Sounds of Dar.

The sounds of Dar: the sweeping, the call to prayer, the wandering business people, the sound of flip-flops, squealing bicycle brakes, honking horns, rushing water and wind in the trees.

And the ‘panya‘ song of another bike filled up with all kinds of poison in packets offered to tackle mice and rats around the house.

Calls for scrap metal come from a man with handcart who uses an old speaker to broadcast his message.

A special sound is people passing walking in flip-flops — apparently one should slide them forwards instead of picking them up with every step (as I was taught from an early age.)

I’d never heard bikes braking with a high pitched squealing but with the status of roads here one can understand.

Hooting can be heard day and night as drivers return home, urging their gate keepers to open up.

Then there’s the amazing variety in sounds of water: trickling or rushing into tanks, not to mention all types of pumps providing water pressure.

Finally it’s early evening and traffic dies down and business finishes for the day.

Then all that remains the sound of wind rustling through the palm trees to end my day of sounds of Dar.

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About the Author

Josie van den Hoek

Josie first visited Dar es Salaam in 2000 and is still here. She writes about encounters on her daily walks and Tanzanian life.