One of the coolest things about here is that you can walk around most corners and buy fabulous produce. I bought the biggest pineapple and avocado I have ever seen the other day and they were both so delicious. (I had forgotten that cutting pineapples myself is typically a bad idea. Luckily, the slash is very superficial.)
Which is where the kittens come in. My friend from Northern Ireland, Sarah, whom I adore, bought potatoes from a lady by the road the other day. As she was walking away, she saw several evidently unbearably cute kittens behind the potato seller. So she asked the potato lady how much, and she responded 5,000 tsh. So Sarah made a face which the lady took to mean, “that’s too much,” so she immediately reduced the price to 3,000 tsh. What Sarah’s look actually meant was, “So there I am asking myself why am I buying a kitten from a lady who sells potatoes?” She resisted, but I bet Sarah goes back for it.We have cats now. Two big black brothers and a tabby we don’t see much. I really don’t care for cats. But here comes another one of those transformations.
Down the road there are two booths that sell most of what you need. I needed milk, masiwa. Milk here typically comes in boxes that you then refrigerate. But the saleslady offered me cold milk in square pouches so I bought two!
Next morning I make coffee for myself and the guard. I open the pouch of Tanga Fresh to discover that it’s the color of milk, smells and tastes fine, it is sort of milk consistency but clumpy. Mad, crazy clumpy. I’m confused but I think- don’t some people drink clotted cream or something? Is that what this is? I take the coffees and go to the guard and the two of us look at them. I say, something doesn’t look right here, to which he nodded his agreement. Well the thing that was wrong is, it was yogurt not milk. Same word in Swahili. The cats love it, however, which is why I now feel I have to buy that yogurt for them. I am buying yogurt for cats.
Then yesterday I had an embarrassing moment at the duka la dawa. I needed B12 vitamins (prevents malaria) and a laxative. I’m going to skip the details of trying to act out what I meant because even when I wrote it down, the word laxative wasn’t registering. (HIPPA isn’t a thing here so now the whole store is involved.) When they third employee got involved, I said, inexplicably, “For when you need to go number 2.” Knowing this may not be a universal expression and it’s not. The lady who was the main person helping me finally yelled, “are you constipated?” Yes, yes I am, asante sana. When I told my ex-pat friends the story, none of them knew that expression. It’s purely American apparently. “Number 2?!” What am I? Five?