Waiting for the dust to settle

Waiting for the dust to settle.

I don’t know if there is an expression for this in Swahili but it certainly seems a relevant and helpful attitude.

At the end of last year, notices had been painted on walls and other structures along a wide road close to Slipway and ‘bomoa‘ was the order: demolish!

The directive is about private persons not being allowed to use part of public space bordering a road as part of their garden, parking place or walls.

At various places people began to break down their walls; however the initial activity was left at that and nothing has been heard of it since.

A month ago beggers around cars at traffic junctions close to town were ordered to return home by the regional commissioner.

Indeed it is a sorry sight and often dangerous and bothersome as well.

It was reported in the media that some of those sent away assumed the dust would settle in time so they just stayed around and kept a low profile — to be back in business as usual when the time was right.

Instead of squeezing oneself along makeshift stalls with a variety of goods for sale as sunglasses, newspapers, belts, wallets, cigarettes and sweets, there is now a wide space to walk.

Instead of squeezing oneself along makeshift stalls with a variety of goods for sale as sunglasses, newspapers, belts, wallets, cigarettes and sweets, there is now a wide space to walk.

And indeed, today I noticed a small group has returned at exactly the same place.

In the city centre pavement businesses were removed not too long ago.

Instead of squeezing oneself along makeshift stalls with a variety of goods for sale as sunglasses, newspapers, belts, wallets, cigarettes and sweets, there is now a wide space to walk.

Comfortable maybe, but to me the whole atmosphere of informal business is part of life of the city.

Slowly one or two sellers are having the courage to set up a type of mobile stall again — just a crate with a piece of cardboard on top showing a handful of products.

Easier to disappear and be gone if controls are being spotted.

In this case I really hope the dust will settle and soon the small business of the road will pick up again as before.

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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.