A walk in Bongo

Walk in Dar at sunset.

No one else was interested but I felt as if I was the most privileged person in the city!

One of my typical days of here in Bongo I cannot imagine happening anywhere else.

While out for a walk, I’m offered a lift so I pass by the expensive supermarket for some better quality bread.

Their cookies look tempting as well, so I ask for the price.

After various consultations the ladies at the bakery section agree the cookies cost 3,500 TSH so I add them to my basket.

Once at the cashier she’s at a loss as there is ‘no bar code.’

Two colleagues provide her with a list of bar codes, but to no avail.

During the following 10 minutes I busy myself around the shelves close by in anticipation of a solution.

Finally two managers using various scanning devices come up with a price of 4,000 TSH for the cookies.

I informed them about the price I’d been given at the bakery and was told, ‘okay we can take off the 500 TSH…’

All of that for a packet of cookies!

My next adventure was my own sandal.

On my walk home I notice the sole under one foot was flapping and I realize it has come three quarters undone.

So I pull it off completely and walked the remaining 3 kilometers on an inside sole only, luckily with straps still holding.

In the climate of Dar I find slippers and sandals fail often somewhere between the rubber parts and glue — long before the sole or straps are worn out.

It’s one of those things. Maybe I’ll try a super glue.

Finally after passing by my regular fruit stall I take the dirt road passing by the beach as the tide is halfway out.

Some Masai sleep under the trees, there’s a large Taka Taka truck with at least four guys collecting garden waste and the usual ladies cooking in their makeshift restaurants.

My interest is the birds, which are plentiful at low tide.

Today, the sacred ibis, white egrets and a grey heron find food in the shallow waters.

Another single bird stood out: an African Fish Eagle, perched on a rock along the water edge.

No one else was interested but I felt as if I was the most privileged person in the city!

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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.