Arriving at the food stop, I was unsure whether I was supposed to alight or not as it was not familiar to me....on asking the driver, he rounded up his helpers who quickly pulled my bags out of the trunk. The instant this happened I was suddenly surrounded by taxi men.....”Bei Gani:” ”Elfu sita” “Hapana” “Elfu mbili!” I knew my house was not far away and I was only prepared to spend Tsh 2,000 and they were trying to get me to pay Tsh 6,000. After several attempts to get my price I picked up all my bags and proceeded to walk home....when 2 very young, kind English speaking taxi boys offered me Elfu mbili....Ndiyo! Yes! They gently took my bags, waited patiently whilst I tried to ring Andre, only to realise that I was out of credit! André was on a bus coming up from Iringa and I was planning to meet him at the bus terminal....Oh well....I decided to get my things to my house then work out plan B! Arriving at my big red gates, I realised that I only had Shilingi Elfu kumi: Tsh 10,000 and the boys didn’t have any change! I only had one choice and that was to trust that they would return all the way out to my house with Tsh 8,000 change! I staggered inside with by heavy bags and knew that I had to get back to the bus terminal to get credit for my phone and work out how to meet André! As I walked quickly along the dusty track, thinking that I had lost my change, the boys turned the corner and drove towards me!! Not only did they take me back to the bus terminal but they helped me find Zantel credit, waited until I had located André, lectured me kindly on being careful not to get my things stolen or to get pick pocketed, then bundled us into their taxi and drove us both back to my place! I have their phone number and intend using their services whenever I need a taxi!! What a fortunate find!
It was wonderful to see André again and hear of his week in Iringa with the two other Vols, Mae and Roland. Our few days were filled with highs and lows....
Cleaning, dusting sweeping away the ever present red dust; moving furniture
(The King sized 4-poster bed fitted with an attractive mosquito net: for me, Queen of Morogoro....only fitting as André is known as The King of Pemba!); fixing the water filter; meeting Elena and Camilla (my housemates until the end of January who excitedly celebrated Halloween throughout the entire weekend); being fed by the girls because we were too tired to do anything on Saturday night (except walk down the track and buy 2 Kili’s); on Sunday, cooking our first meal of Spaghetti and veg sauce (oh how nice to finally be in my own home!); taking a daladala to town to the supermarket (which was closed!!); visiting my tailor to collect my outfits which weren’t ready (but atleast I delivered Wendy’s fabric!); visiting Amabalis but couldn’t get Tom’s shirts he had left there; walking to Dragonaires desperately looking forward to pizza (only to discover it was closed due to the elections!); catching a taxi to Oasis and ate a 2 star pizza instead!); catching a taxi home and when I was just about to get under a much needed shower, André realised his phone had fallen out of his pocket during the taxi ride! OH DEAR.......
We hijacked a daladala to take us to Oasis where the Askari (guard) and the receptionist tried to locate the taxi driver during which time a very kind, generous, patient, learned African by the name of Golden, stopped to help us. He liaised between Andre and the African staff and was finally able to locate the taxi driver who said that he had gone to bed and that he would check his taxi the next morning!!!
André was distraught as all his information... contacts, emails etc were on his phone and he didn’t have the info backed up or stored anywhere else!! His tired English was interspersed with Dutch and a small amount of Kiswahili....
By the time we got home we were exhausted, yet each of us endured a sleepless night!
Amazingly, Golden (by name and Golden by nature....) was able to talk gently to the taxi driver and persuade him to give up his treasured find. We know that without Golden’s help, we would never have seen André’s phone again. Thank you Golden for sharing your kindness and helping us understand how to handle your people gently, without them losing face.
I will certainly never forget my first weekend in Morogoro with André.
(Actually we are not King and Queen...I am MOM Mzungu of Morogoro and André: MOP Mzungu of Pemba....!!!)
Doing my washing in my ensuite!