Lesson 1 : dress appropriately

How not to do it

People in Dar like to swim with their clothes on. Especially their evening clothes. A trip to any public beach will reveal at least 5 women in evening gowns, complete with heels…inside the water. Show up in any less and you will get raised eyebrows. Dare to wear a swimsuit and you will be called names, you know, like Kenyan.

Apparently, I’ve been in Dar too long, coz yesterday morning, I was feeling very un-Kenyan about my swim gear. Let me explain.

I woke up to find the loo [almost] overflowing and the compound all liquid. It had rained so hard that the power had gone out, and the floor was starting to leak. Yes, in my house the floor leaks. Everything was soaked through and there was at least an inch of water on the ground.

But life must go on. We bailed out the house as best we could with several mops and a dustpan. Don’t ask. Then I set off on my errands.

The ground was so soaked that I had to fold up my trouser legs. In most places, the water came up to my knees, and I actually saw a fish on the road. An actual fish. And I’m not exaggerating – for once.

You see, there’s this mtaro that runs along the length of the main road, and it’s filled with yucky green water, and the little boys breed fish in it, and they hunt their fish with polythene bags and makeshift poles, and long story short, if you’re ever driving in my hood and a cute little boy tries to sell you a very fresh fish, just walk away.

Once I was done wading, I had to grab some breakfast, but the only thing I could find were cheeseburgers. So then I had to wade across the road, with my cheeseburger, to get a mat [daladala] back to work. Now, I know this route fairly well, but the water was at my knees so I couldn’t see squat, and some kanges were catcalling something that sounded like a cross between ‘sista dredi’ and ‘there are crocs in the water’ – in swa.

I saw a daladala heading my way and jumped to catch it. Next thing I know, choobloo! I’m neck deep in muddy water!

Lesson 2 : Life saving

How not to do it

I was peacefully treading water when I heard shouts and yells from the kange in the daladala. ‘Anakufa anakufa, okoa!!’

Next thing I know, some unseen hand had grabbed my t-shirt and yanked me out of the water. My handbag was soaked through, so were my nokias and my cheeseburger. I was wearing a white cotton t-shirt, an open sweatshirt and an umbrella…and one shoe.

Luckily, the daladala was too packed for anyone to notice. I called my boss and explained that I needed to go home and change, then I grabbed a cab to drive me the 1500 metres from the stage to my house. I mean I couldn’t walk a ten minute stretch with a muddy clingy t-shirt and one shoe. And apparently, my phone lived long enough to make the call before it died.

Lesson 3 : Keep your eye on the water

How not to do it

I snuck quietly into the house, ignoring the jobless corner boys who were staring at my…tshirt. Princess saw me and rushed to meet me before she burst out giggling. She had the day off because the school bus couldn’t get through the flooding. As is, a sweet neighbour voluntarily [and totally unbidden] carried her from the house to the school bus stage, so that her feet wouldn’t get wet. My role in the scenario was to wade behind them holding an umbrella…

Anyway, the second I got into the compound, all silence was forgotten and I started whining and limping on my one-shoed legs. I sloshed right into the house and…choobloo!

The water level in the house was…higher. And if I hadn’t already been soaked through, well, I’d have been soaked thorugh. But the boss was waiting, so I just peeled off the wet clothes, threw on some dry clothes, changed handbags and headed out. All this before 10 a.m.

I love my life.

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20 thoughts on “Swimming lessons

  1. Hehehe, oh Crystal, it sounds even more hilarious here.

    Look on the bright side at least. And I’ll get back to you once (if) I figure that out.

    weeeeeell, i DO have an excuse to buy new shoes, no? 😉

  2. Hahaha! Interesting how you’ve made small change of your wet morning. I’d expect you to be cursing cursing cursing!

    I’z good at laughung at self 😀

    Very well written (ama it’s coz I haven’t been here in a while?) Feels great to be back. Off to catch up.

  3. pole sana mamii. breast stroke in the middle of the street, mami, you were overtaking the dala dala, ama iliwanga back stroke? shwaa shwaaa…

    butterfly 😉

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