Ali Barages Emporium. The Beach Bungalow Build. Part 14. Zanzibar


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Close to the centre of Pingwe village, past the heart of the village – the football ground, lies Ali Barages Emporium. Walk behind the severe grilled frontage, up the concrete step, past the wooden counter, high enough to keep small sticky hands out of reach from its sweet treats and essential pulses, into the dim interior and you will find dizzying choice of goods for sale.

Ali’s son will peel himself off the wall outside where he has been sun-baking with his friends and come and serve you. Always patient with a willing smile and a real appreciation of any attempt at Swahili he does his best to find what you need. It’s not hard. The shop seems to have everything. Flip flops, toiletries, kangas, food, drinks, hardware, huge bottles of drinking water, string, fishing equipment, hammers, nails, saws, buckets, nails, screwdrivers, saws, rakes, spades, buckets, washing powder, condiments, electrical goods – the list is endless. We seemed to spend quite a lot of time in the shop buying items for the build. Luckily prices were reasonable and because of our regular custom we were often given discount. Once he gave me a load of coat hangers for free. What a nice guy!

Obtaining tools from the brothers often proved to be an impossible task as they either didn’t possess the item, had lent it out (more likely rented it!), or it was broken. We could wait hours for a screwdriver, hammer or nails to turn up. Invariably we ended up buying it from Ai Barages for a couple of dollars. Recounting our purchases to Mr Money (Phil who was funding the project) he would ask.

“What happened to the rake I bought?”

“They lent it out to the charcoal burners who then broke it” we would reply (substitute rake for any number of items)

or

“Where’s the saw/screwdriver/etc etc I bought them?”

“They don’t have” we would reply

But the one thing that Ali Barages didn’t have and Mr Money hadn’t bought the brothers was a Swiss Army Knife. But we did and they coveted it.  Often I would see the knife being picked up and fondled lovingly by one of them. Soon they were borrowing it and forgetting to return it. One day after using it to open bottles in the bar (the bottle opener had gone missing) Osmane picked it up, slipped it into his pocket and vanished. After numerous attempts to track him down, he finally turned up.

“Where’s my knife” Mitch asked

Osmane made a great show of patting all his pockets and then shrugging his shoulders’

“If you’ve lost it you owe me 60 dollars ” Mitch said

The knife appeared

That night Osmane tried to borrow the knife again.

“how can you run a bar without a bottle opener” we asked in exasperation

he shrugged his shoulders

We went to Ali Barages and bought him one.

A Word A Week Photograph Challenge – Technology


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Pictures – Floating market, Mekong river .  Yaraville Sky, Suburb of Melbourne.  Modern building and old Melbourne Tram

Technology encompasses many things.   My photos tend to turn up  telegraph poles and lines difficult to edit out.  Street shots now have many people down at phones, ipads, readers, ipods.   So the challenge this week is to either show technology making a good photo – crane silhouettes at sunset for example or looking out of place.

Once a week I will dip into my old English Oxford dictionary and pick a word on the page that it falls open at.  The challenge is to post a photograph, poem, story – whatever the genre you like best to describe of what that word means to you. Put a link back to my challenge page so others can take part if they wish.

 

Do you have any photos, memories or stories of that you would like to share for this week’s challenge?

A Word A Week Photograph Challenge. New Appreciation Award


 

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Once a week I will dip into my old English Oxford dictionary and pick a word on the page it falls open at.  The challenge is to post a photograph, poem, story – whatever the genre you like best to describe of what that word means to you. Put a link back to my challenge page so others can take part if they wish.

Many thanks for the ongoing support and wonderful photos that you all contribute.   For all those who take part in the competition and enjoy it you can now add this logo to your side bar if you wish.  Or you can award it to the person who’s photo you like the best each week.

 

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Weekly Photo Challenge – Dialogue


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The Peanut Seller

This picture says so much about this women’s life.

Hey Fundi. The Beach Bungalow Build. Zanzibar. Part 13.


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“Hey Fundi” (hey workman) the villagers would call out to us as they passed by giggling with laughter at the sight of two white people actually working instead eating/sunbathing/drinking.

Waving cheerfully with a decorating implement in hand, we called back

“Jambo. Habari?” (hello. How are you?).

Which was the signal for them to wander over, inspect our work, then sit down for a chat.

The Auntie’s were our biggest fans and several old ladies would visit us during the day. Toothy grins flashed, compliments on the work given, opportunities to hold hands with and pat a white woman encouragingly, taken.

“Hey Fundi” became a standard greeting from the Pingwe residents when we walked through the village. We became an attraction in our own right. Tourists would stop and watch, friends and family from different villages would visit, children would hang around outside the compound and stare.

Word spread along the coastline and it became much easier to negotiate payment closer to local prices. Beach boys generally left us alone or backed off when we told them we weren’t tourists but helping a friend out.

“Ah that’s right” you stay at Ame’s for long time” “you paint and decorate” one of them said when I told him I had no money to spend.

Even in Paje (40 minutes dalladalla ride away) the rastas had heard of us.

“Where you stay?” one of them asked

“with my rafiki (friend) Ame” I would reply

“Ah yes I’ve heard about you. OK I make cheaper price. Not tourist price, fundi price”.

The only people who seemed unimpressed by our work were the brothers who would call out

“Hey fundi – you need to start work”

“Hey fundi, When do you finish painting?

“Hey fundi, why you stop?”

One particularly frustrating day, the paint ran out, the plumber hadn’t turned up, the tiles for the bathroom were still in the shop and we still had no water for showering. All down to the incompetence of the brothers. Osmane and Mohammed started to pester us to finish the job.

“How?” We have no paint and can’t finish until the plumbing and tiles are done” I said

“Ah but we have a friend coming to stay. If paint comes later you can finish today or tomorrow ”

“It’s my birthday tomorrow and I already told you I am going out for the day”

“but what about the painting?”

“That’s it, I quit” I said. “I’m not doing any more for the next two days.”

“Mama fundi is finished”

 

A Word A Week Photograph Challenge – Rust


A  Word a Week Challenge – Rust

Strange that rust can produce such interesting colours.  I’m not sure I’d get on this boat though!

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Once a week I will dip into my old English Oxford dictionary and pick a word on the page that it falls open at.  The challenge is to post a photograph, poem, story – whatever the genre you like best to describe of what that word means to you. Put a link back to my challenge page so others can take part if they wish.

 

Do you have any photos, memories or stories of your pet that you would like to share for this week’s challenge?

Upendo (love). The Beach Bungalow Build. Part 12


6 (2)If a Zanzibar male tells you he loves you, it normally means that he either wants sex, your money or both. I am generalizing of course, but from observations I’ve made and the stories I’ve heard it seems to be a reasonable thing to say. Single women exploring the beach invariably end up with an entourage of Masai, local men or beach boys trailing them up and down the bay, allegedly “practising” their English/Italian/Russian etc.   After one of several encounters the men declare their love and expect the pestered female to be swept off her feet by the thought of a hot Zanzibar/Masai lover.  Some of the more trusting or vulnerable souls are and many get their hearts broken or their bank accounts cleaned out.

I’ve heard of and stayed at local bungalows which have been part or completely built from the money of foreign women. I know of one such place where each bungalow had been funded by a different women that the owner had had affairs with! Large, small, old, young, married, single, thin, big, pretty, plain – all are fair game. Because according to this type of predator’s logic, all these women have two things in common – if they can afford a holiday in Zanzibar they must be rich and white single females are ‘easy’.

One day Mitch, Anna (our first friend of a friend guest) and myself decided to check out the other side of the island. Earlier in the month Ywinne, one Ame’s brothers who owned a mini-van, in a burst of uncharacteristic generosity had offered to take us for the price of petrol. I think because of all the work we had done around the place. Knowing the brothers propensity to back-pedal and try and rip us off we decided to phone him and ask for a quote.

“When you go?” he asked

“Tomorrow would be good. But how much will it cost?”

“I tell you when I see you in the morning”

“Not the price of the petrol then?”

“We discuss when I see you” he replied

At which point we knew that he was reneging on his offer.

We pushed harder for a price and eventually he said “60 dollars”

“But Anna’s friends got a taxi for 20 dollars each way when they came over for dinner the other night.  Why is it so much?” we asked

“I have to drive from Stone town to pick you up, there are three of you now and Anna is a guest”

“Prices are always based on hiring the van not the number of people being transported. Anna is staying in the Banda (at a discounted rate) because Mohammed took the tile money, disappeared for 3 days on a bender and we couldn’t finish her bungalow in time. You should be giving her a big discount!” we argued.

Eventually we got him down to 50 dollars but it was still too much.

The day of the trip arrived and I was too sick to travel. Ywinne refused to reduce the price and Mitch decided he couldn’t afford 25 dollars. Anna decided to go and try and negotiate Ywinne down on the way. When she came back she had a story to tell.

Ywinne trailed around after her all day and the only time she had some space was when she went to a restaurant for lunch. Realising that he hadn’t eaten and would be hungry she took some fish down to the beach for him. Later when she was sunbathing she received a text message.

“Thank you for the food” it read “I think you must like me and I must tell you that I think you are beautiful and I am in love with you. I would like to see you”.

She texted him back

“That’s very nice and I’m flattered but you have a wife and children and I have a boyfriend”

“But he’s not here” came the reply

“In my culture we believe in trust and I wouldn’t cheat on him because I care about him ” she texted

“But I like you very much and you don’t have to tell him” persisted Ywinne

Well this is awkward, thought Anna, who realised that the journey home could be difficult if she didn’t sort this out. She turned to Ywinne who was lying next to her on a sun bed and said

“We need to talk”

The Gifti. The Beach Bungalow Build. Zanzibar. Part 11


 

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Cold fruit shakes are always welcome in hot climates. Crushed ice, fresh fruit and a little iced water blended into a smooth drink – awesome. They are easy and cheap to to make and much healthier than milk shakes or smoothies. Strolling along the beach at Pingwe was thirsty work and any establishment that advertised shakes cheaper than the resorts would have been a draw to tourists. I tried to explain this to Ame a) because he didn’t have them on with the menu b) he could make some easy money and c) I was desperate for a banana shake. Having established that he didn’t have a blender my Swahili wasn’t up to trying to find out why. Later on I worked out that his brother, who ran the bar as a franchise, was responsible for drinks.

One day when Phil, Mitch and I went to Stone Town we bought a blender and a bunch of bananas to go with it.

“Here” I said to Ame giving him the purchased goods “Now we can make shakes. Put it in the kitchen and make sure your brothers don’t take it”

Ame looked at the box in bemusement

“For you?” he said

“No for you” I replied

“You are making shakes?” he asked having still not grasped the fact the blender was for him.

“No. You make the shakes. The blender is for the restaurant. It’s a gift”

“A gift?” he parroted trying out the word for the first time

“Yes, for you. A gifti”

The penny dropped. “Ahhhh for me. A gifti!” he said

“Yes a gifti for you” I replied.

He put the blender and fruit in the kitchen, threw some ice in the freezer but time we went to make the shake someone had eaten the bananas!

Over the next month Ame experimented with flavours and we received a variety of unusual shake combos, coconut water and orange juice, pineapple, orange and coconut milk, banana, milk and honey, water melon and something unidentifiable, mango, papaya and ginger. But never the simple banana shake that I so often asked for.

One particularly hot day when we had finished painting a wall and most of ourselves, Ame appeared with two tall iced glasses.

“What’s that” I asked suspiciously, thinking that it was yet another weird concoction that I was going to have to drink and mark out of ten.

“ Banana shake” he replied with a huge smile on his face.

“Just banana?” I asked sceptically

“Banana” he confirmed

He was right, it was a 10 out of 10 and seeing Ame’s face when I told him – now that was the real gifti!

Pweza (Octopus). The Beach Bungalow Build. Zanzibar. Part 10.


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Pweza restaurant and its bungalows are named after the Octopus. Octopus is life sustaining in the small villages of Zanzibar. Octopus to sell at local markets, resorts and restaurants and octopus for the family to eat. Local Zanzibar cafes in remote areas boast a heady choice of Octopus Massalla. grilled octopus, octopus curry, marinaded octopus, pickled octopus, octopus and rice or if you’re lucky catch of the day. It is a limited menu for none sea food lovers but an excellent way to diet for those who wish to shed a few pounds.

Every morning at low tide the women of the village would head to the breakers far off shore armed with plastic sack and a home-made wooden metal tipped spear. Gathered on the beach, they sounded and looked like a multitude of brightly coloured parrots. Tottering babies, followed their mothers onto the sand only to be shooed back towards their older baby sitter siblings. Stragglers raced out from their houses at the last minute winding flapping kangas around them as they ran after the group making its way across the sandbar towards the boats that would take them out to the reef.

Much later when the tide turned the women would return bearing their catch and proceed to pound the octopus on the beach with stones to tenderize it .

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Luckily for us Ame’s menu included lobster, crab, prawns, calamari, spaghetti, beef and chicken on the occasions, rice ,salad and chips. Because crisps, chocolate, sugar, diary and meat products and flour were not readily available in the village and all our food was grilled I became very fit and healthy in the two months I stayed.

One weekend we met Ame in town and decided to treat him to a meal since he had done most of the cooking for us during our stay. We chose a restaurant recommended by one of the tourist books and looked at the menu. It was a smorgasboard of European and Asian food with a couple of token seafood dishes thrown in.

The waitress came over and took our order. Taste buds working overtime and desperate for junk food after all the healthy eating I went for the pizza with the most toppings . Ame, overwhelmed with choice was still deciding. Some time later he made a decision and said.

“I’ll have grilled pweza and chips”

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A Word A Week Photograph Challenge – Arch


A  Word a Week Challenge – Arch

 

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Once a week I will dip into my old English Oxford dictionary and pick a word on the page that it falls open at.  The challenge is to post a photograph, poem, story – whatever the genre you like best to describe of what that word means to you. Put a link back to my challenge page so others can take part if they wish.

 

Do you have any photos, memories or stories of your pet that you would like to share for this week’s challenge?

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