A different kind of logic

I’ve realised the standard way of working is to start opening, breaking or undoing the problem area before troubleshooting the cause of the problem.

I’ve never considered myself a high-flyer in logical thinking, but I get by.

Living in Dar, however, I often get really confused.

It has taken me a while, but I’ve realized that logic has many approaches and can take some creative forms.

For example, there’s a supermarket using quite a sophisticated weighing and pricing device for the vegetables department.

Only when I want to buy a handful garlic, a problem arises.

“There’s not enough, add more,” I’m told.

At first, I couldn’t believe it as I didn’t want more than two bulbs of garlic, but the scale won’t give a sticker unless there is at least 100 grams of garlic.

I persisted and asked that maybe a handwritten sticker could be provided, for my two bulbs of garlic.

Indeed it was done but took at least an additional 10 minutes and spoiled the friendly atmosphere.

So these days I start with asking, naongeza ngapi?

I then add a few pieces so the scales go up to the apparently required 100 grams and everyone is happy and no hand written stickers are required.

Fundi’s are another point in case: by now I’ve realised the standard way of working is to start opening, breaking or undoing the problem area before troubleshooting the cause of the problem. (not to mention putting it all back together again.)

As one goes along the cause of the problem is being deliberated.

Once the root of the problem is discovered, decisions on spare parts are made and money is needed.

Usually the fundi is gone for hours suggesting it’s difficult to find parts and there is foleni of course.

But later when the issue is fixed — ‘Mama tayari‘ — it’s my time to pay.

However I’ve learnt the hard way not to take their word and instead I first try out the door, tap, light, washing machine, hinges or whatever was being repaired.

More often than not, some detail has been overlooked and the issue prevails or another issue has come up while putting it all back together.

Only after I’ve seen the required result I agree the problem is fixed and pay the balance.

My logic would be that being a good customer is an advantage and provides better service — that payment ahead may increase trust and priority handling. It is not so.

Slowly I’m learning that logic has many approaches and unexpected twists and turns.

Just one of the challenges of living somewhere else!

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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.