Cheap or pragmatic — probably both

dar-street-scene-top

From my experience good quality tools and machines are hard to get here.

They are imported and heavily taxed so there is little choice and it costs.

The easier and much cheaper solution is apparently to get people to do the job manually.

People, who will find a way without tools of significance, are eager to make money doing whatever it takes.

Authorities, home or business owners seem to have few qualms about health and safety; workers themselves, often less.

I see a large compound close by where the residence is being improved before it is rented out again.

There are two townhouses sharing a large garden and swimming pool.

People, who will find a way without tools of significance, are eager to make money doing whatever it takes.

People, who will find a way without tools of significance, are eager to make money doing whatever it takes.

First, truckloads of sand were dumped on the road in front, then two fundis with an old squeaking wheelbarrow and rusty spade took many hours to transfer it all inside the compound.

Later there was cutting of tiles for days on end, with no protective gear or silencer.

The next task was the entrance gate and edging along the borders outside the compound wall – the aim is a rustic appearance of natural stones and brick columns using cheaper materials.

A team of three fundis worked for days creating cement slabs, which were dried along the road in the sun, broken up and then applied with mortar on top of the original basic edges.

Passersby are still awaiting final results, as the fundis continue their work.

Another house along the road, built in simple Swahili style, has an ongoing drainage problem.

Instead of devising a water management system a simple solution is applied as needed.

After every rain (even a short unseasonable one) the house girl uses an old plastic container to scoop the water from the ditch leading out of the house.

This water, black with residue is then thrown out on the road.

It can easily take the worker an hour – and more during rainy season.

Cheap or pragmatic — probably both.

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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.