Living thousands of kilometers from the nearest city, Dar Es Salaam poses its problems. Especially when it comes to cat food! What normally happens is that when Grant and I fly out to SA, we overnight at the Seacliff hotel in Dar Es Salaam. The beauty of this beautiful five-star hotel, is that it's situated in the Seacliff Village, which is a conglomeration of ATM's, a chemist, shoe and clothing boutiques, a hairstylist, several restaurants and a casino. It also has the best supermarket in Tanzania. Not only does this large, modern and airy shop sell everything a South African expat longs for while away from home; it also has a large pet food and product section. The cat food selection is a pure delight to owners like us who struggle to find the right food for our
The day we arrive at the Seacliffe, once Grant's checked us in and our luggage is taken to our room, we walk down to the Village Supermarket. Over the past 18 months, I've had an arrangement with the store manager, Frank. I don't know Frank's surname, but he's on my cell phone contacts list as "Frank Cat Food" and that's good enough for me! I buy 30 cans of food and a selection of ten boxes (500g) and packets (1kg) of kibbles. An assistant kindly packs this into a cardboard carton, seals it with tape, and writes my name on top. Frank makes a photocopy of the till slip which I keep with the original taped to the top of the box which is stored in Frank's office.
When we pass through Dar Es Salaam three weeks later, we stop off at Village Supermarket, collect the carton, and add it to our luggage on our flight to the mine site.
In between, while here on site, I buy a certain brand of kibbles from the supermarket in Mwanza. (this is only 160 kms from Mwadui and William, our driver collects the cat food for me) This amount of cat food normally is sufficient for our three cats - and Joy, the little cat I feed in Shinyanga - for four months by which time we've returned from leave via Dar Es Salaam with the next supply!
However, during July the supermarket in Mwanza ran out of kibbles and cans of less-than-sophisticated cat food meaning that there's nothing wrong with it other than it's prime cuts of meat in gravy and our cats eat only fish, seafood, rabbit or chicken in jelly! At the end of July, my friend Amanda flew out to SA and Tilla who's looking after Matewis in her absence, had also run out of cat food so I lent her several cans. Rina and Dick were on their last cans and a half a packet of kibbles (all originally borrowed from me) when they off-loaded their kitties, Tipsy and Topsy with me on Wednesday.
Which means that our cat grocery cupboard is lower stocked than normal when we go on leave. I don't like to leave Regina and Pendo with this problem so I wracked my brains about how to get our stocks replenished this week.
Last Sunday morning I phoned the Mwanza store manager for the umpteenth time to inquire whether his cat food stocks (which he promised was on the next container) had arrived, When he replied in the negative again, I asked whether he'd tried any of the larger supermarket chains in Dar Es Salaam. He assured me he had and that there is no cat food in Tanzania. According to him, everyone is complaining about this. Humph!
My next call that morning was to Frank Cat Food at Village Supermarket, Dar Es Salaam. I asked him whether he has cat food in stock. He assured me he has on the shelf, but had a container on which would be unpacked by Tuesday and which had a fresh supply. So much for the Mwanza Supermarket manager who said there's no cat food in Tanzania! I explained to Frank that I'd not be coming in yet, but that we'd send the company driver, Mohamed who'd pay for the items and collect again next Sunday. (My greatest fear is for Mohamed to load the box of tinned fish into his taxi and drive around the Dar Es Salaam heat causing the food to become toxic.) Frank asked me to phone him on Tuesday and he'd give me a list of the cat food he has available.
Next I asked Grant to phone Thys, the production manager, who's due to fly into Dar from SA on Tuesday, 3 September (which is tomorrow!) Grant explained to Thys, who only has dogs at home in SA but knows our cats, that Mohamed would have a carton of cat food which please could he, Thys add to his luggage when boarding the flight back to site. Thys kindly agreed to do this.
Then there was the question of paying for the cat food. Grant phoned the finance manager at HO and asked him to give the PR lady, Florence (a dear friend of ours) the required amount of money. I then phoned Florence and asked her to give the money to Mohamed on Wednesday and ask him to go to Frank Cat Food. Mohamed knows Frank as previously he collected our cat food carton when our flight was late and the supermarket had already closed for the night). Florence was to ask Mohamed to pay Frank, and arrange to collect the carton on Sunday, 1 September. (yesterday).
On Tuesday while I was at pottery, Grant phoned me and said that Mohamed had phoned him and said although he was at Village Supermarket, Frank had not yet arrived and no-one else knew about the cat food order. Florence hadn't told Mohamed to go to the supermarket on Wednesday only, once I'd spoken to Frank, after he'd unloaded the container! I then phoned Mohamed and explained this to him but he said, it's not a problem, he'd left the money with the assistant manager, Imram who would give it to Frank. Mohamed also has Frank's phone number and said he'd contact him on Saturday to arrange collection of the box on Monday so that he could give it to Thys when he offloaded him at the airport on Tuesday morning. Phew!
Meanwhile, I phoned Frank as requested and he told me what cat food he had in stock. I asked him to place cans which only have the protein source in jelly. He read from the cans that he had rabbit in jelly and several cans of cod/plaice in jelly. He packed ten cans into the carton as well as six boxes and packets of kibbles. My name and the till slip is taped to the top and Mohamed will collect the carton for me today.
On Tuesday lunch time, when Thys arrives I will reimburse him for any excess luggage fines and bring the carton over to our house.
The kitties of Mwadui : Ginger, Shadow, Ambrose Hedges; Matewis Stoop; Topsy and Tipsy Young and Joy Shinyanga will have enough food until we return from Dar Es Salaam on 30 September!
The cans "Felix" on the right are the only ones which our cats eat. Although "Whiskas" is in jelly, our cats turn their noses up at it. "Rufus" (which is cat food!) is in gravy and I use it and the Whiskas for Joy in Shinyanga. Matewis and the Young twins also eat this variety
Ginger tucks into a fresh bowl of Go Cat kibbles which I opened yesterday morning
Here's hoping you all have a wonderful week.