Vignettes

by zunguzungu

Lots of little things happen that seem worth mentioning, so to check my impulse to pontificate at length, I’m going to just mention a few, at shorth.

–Today, walking through the touristy part of town, a guy grabbed my arm (somewhat drunk) and started telling me that I was messing up his mind. I didn’t have the words to respond, so his friend stepped in and explained, politely, “You walk by all the time and don’t buy anything. You should go home if you have no money.” I took back my arm and beat a confused retreat. What does one say in that situation? Nothing would be the right thing, but it’s an unsettling feeling.

–At night, I’m walking by the kitchen (an outbuilding where the cooking is done) to brush my teeth and I see that Mr. Buse (an out of work tour guide staying with the family) is inside. I pop my head in to say hello, but my breath is taken away by the bloody goat’s head he has impaled on a stick.
“Oh!” I say, “What’s that for?”
“Stew” he explains and begins hacking it to pieces. “Very good for eating.”
“For the dogs?” I ask, since sometimes they leave the tripe in a stewpot to make food for the dogs.
“No, for breakfast,” he responds, surprised, “This will make a very nice stew.”
I went for my camera, but found an excuse not to be around for breakfast. Man, I’m a wazungu.

–Both Anton and I have been propositioned by the countergirl at Dolly’s Pattisserie. I bought some bread and she asked for my phone number and told me she wanted to get to know me very well (and for Tanzanian women, just starting a conversation with a male is tantamount to taking off her blouse). “Oh,” I said, “You work here, so I’ll be able to find you,” and I got the hell out of there. The next week Anton told me that I would have to buy the bread from now on, because the counter girl was trying to invite herself along on the long trip he had made up to explain why he couldn’t come and see her on the weekend. We’re not sure what to do, and the worst thing is, it’s really good bread.