The beach at White Sands resort
Despite the repetitiveness and uselessness of my afternoon, today was actually really good. This morning me and two other girls went to the Mwenge carvers' market, a fair sized market on the edge of town filled with fantastic carvings, paintings, jewelery, sandals, and dresses. Tanzanians are amazing artists. I wanted to bring everything home with me. The thing I loved best about this market, though, was how non-pushy the vendors were. This was such a great experience compared to Jamaica, the last country I was in. There the vendors were all grabbing my arm, insisting I buy things I didn't want, putting bracelets on my arm when I wasn't interested, and not taking no for an answer. At the Mwenge market everybody was just really friendly. Of course they all wanted to sell us things but they weren't fighting over us and pushing things on us. They would show us something and if we said no, that was fine and that was that. They wouldn't keep on asking how much I would buy it for (I hear it's like this all over the Caribbean. I'm sorry Caribbean, you're beautiful and all but you're not my favourite). This is the way I like to shop: help me when I need help, don't hound me. Yona, our taxi driver, did come into the market with us, so I'm not sure if that made a difference. But either way, I love how nice Tanzanians are.
While I'm happy and on the topic of things I love about Tanzania: I love how green Dar es Salaam is! Not green as in environmentally friendly (because that is something it definitely isn't), but there are just trees and grass and plants everywhere. For a sprawling city of five million people this is very unusual. Nearly every street is lined with big, leafy trees, theres the occasional cow or chicken, and some residents have started up their own form of urban agriculture. They're planting corn and other vegetables in the empty spaces next to office buildings and stores. I don't think urban agriculture is officially allowed in Dar, but I do hope they keep up with it because it is such a good thing and it allows city dwellers to become a little more self sufficient. And maybe they won't have to buy produce from outside sources as much. Because even for us we noticed today that produce can be ridiculously expensive here. And if its expensive for us, how could someone who makes only the equivalent of $200 per year afford it? Food prices are rising globally and that is bad news for your average Tanzanian.
The good news is that we are meeting with a local security company tomorrow, and maybe, just maybe we'll be able to use dalla-dallas and bajajs sometime soon?