Articles by Josie van den Hoek


When everything goes wrong

Sometimes everything seems to go wrong. Just as I’m set for an active day, the fan stops working — it’s a planned (or unplanned?) outage by Tanesco,…


Stop the squeak

Ever heard of WD-40? Although I’ve used it for years and even brought a few spray bottles from overseas years ago, I never understood its name. Apparently…


Bwana Kisu

Another amazing profession here is that of the knife grinder. Once this businessman is spotted on the roads nearby, wananchi — mostly the ladies — will bring out their…


A different kind of logic

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…


The cooking mamas

Ladies run the businesses on the street, many of which are the cooking mamas who can be found at any stratigic open space with their charcoal stoves,…


Ancient trees

I first saw this most amazing tree in remote areas of Zimbabwe and Botswana. Never did I expect to see them spread around Dar Es Salaam as…


Dust specialists

I grew up in a country where for centuries the biggest challenge has been how to keep our feet dry and the water out of our land….


The cry for kahawa

Walking the streets in every part of town or even on the beach there is a guy balancing a heavy kettle full of boiling hot liquid. One…


Just a few days a year

It is unbelievable how quiet it can get in this city, despite the multi-million population. Usually this type of silence lasts just a few days a year,…