Yesterday morning Grant was sending driver, William back to Shinyanga to return the sufarias/Indian cooking pots which Minaz had sent briyani and snacks for the Indian, Filipino and Ghanaian expats who had Christmas lunch in the Guest House lapa/entertainment area with thatched roof.
I asked Grant if I could accomapny William to Shinyanga and of course he said yes! I sent a note over to Carolyn at the Guest House asking her if she'd like to come along too. She replied: yes please! So at 8.20 William and I stopped at Steve's flatlet and picked up Carolyn.
William had told me that the first of five new trucks, which Frank escorted in convoy from Dar Es Salaam to Mwadui (1000km), had arrived. Carolyn and I both have husbands whose blood is yellow - Caterpillar yellow. Along the road we saw the truck and William stopped so that we could take photos.
One of many of our husband's toys!
The company vehicle which Frank drove. Gendarmes are standing nearby
Once I'd greeted Frank and Pascal and we'd exchanged season's greetings, I introduced them to Carolyn. Then we asked if they'd pose for photos!
Pascal, our company driver in Mwanza and Frank the local driver here in Mwadui
Carolyn, William and I got back into the vehicle, and once through the gate, we were on our way! William stopped at the first village, Maganzo which is only mere five kilometers from Mwadui. I had to cash money at the ATM. No sooner had I collected my cash and removed my card from the slot, and the ATM closed. I was just in time!
Our first stop in Shinyanga was at Ommy's boutique where I'd bought an Africa shirt for Grant. Although I'd bought a size larger than he takes in South Africa, the underarm and shoulders were far too tight. The shop assistant (who knows me well, as I shop there often) exchanged it for one slightly different but still an African design.
Next I asked William to stop at Double Em Bazaar. Although Carolyn and I didn't need anything, we each came out with a shopping bag full of goodies. I'd found a pashmina (Although I have five, I've taken them home over the year and left them there. Our summer months are far cooler than our winter, and I need something over my shoulders when we go to the club of an evening. I also found a patio dress with bling on the bodice. I intend to wear it to our New Year's Eve function at the club. I noticed a cut-glass sugar bowl. Although we have one, the lid is inverted and not at all user-friendly to gnarled ageing hands in the morning. I bought it. (I gave our original one to Regina)
Meanwhile Carolyn had found a pretty beaded necklace and bracelet for her granddaughter's birthday. She also spotted a chunky bangle which she liked for her sister. The shop assistant, hovering nearby all the time, showed her a pair of clip on earrings to match! She bought the set. Together we picked through the make-up and nail gloss. When we were told the price (ridiculously cheap) we each took a foundation and a nail polish. Feeling very pleased with ourselves and not stopping our chatter for one moment, we returned the car and the patiently waiting William.
William drove us to my Christian friend and favorite shop-keeper, Mr Shirima. I introduced Carolyn to him and I bought a loaf of sliced brown bread (the only place I can get brown bread) and Carolyn bought six yogurts. Next door, I introduced Carolyn to my Muslim friends, the Salums and Cosinati, their Tanzanian shop helper. Carolyn bought a small piece of cheddar cheese; I bought a fruit loaf and a small pair of scissors. Carolyn was choosing six apples when she saw my scissors on the counter and asked for one as well ! I turned around and saw a glass case containing fresh slabs of Cadbury's chocolates Kit-kats and cream biscuits. I reached in and took a bar for Grant; when Carolyn saw Steve's favorite chocolate bar in the case, she took it out and placed it on the counter as well. Would you agree that shop keepers love women who shop together?
Then it was time to wend our way out of the town center. William knew that I cat kibbles and canned cat food with me so he stopped at the kitchen-ware shop where I've been feeding a cat called Joy since I came here three years ago. Only thing is when we arrived, the shop was closed and the cat was sitting at the glass door looking out [at us]. One of the shop assistants, Happy, was sitting on the pavement. She said they were closed for business until Monday but she was waiting for someone to bring a key. Then she'd open up and feed the cat. I left my donation with her hoping that the person bringing the key would pitch.
Our penultimate stop in town was at Kariem's. As a company we buy all our groceries from him so I'm also very well-known and most welcome at this shop. I bought mouth-wash and cashew nuts for Grant; beef mince for Ambrose (fussy blighter!) and coat hangers for myself! Carolyn didn't need anything here.
We left Shinyanga stopping once more about three kilometers out of town. Jambo Supermarket is a largish shop with a filling station alongside - so it's known as a Garage Shop to us expats. It's owned by the same family who own the cotton ginnery next door. On Tuesday Steve had seen a DVD player; although he wanted to buy it to replace the faulty one in his room, Carolyn dissuaded him as she thought it wasn't necessary. This time, however, she said she would buy it and hoped it was still in the shop as it had been the only one on the shelf. At Jambo you can use your credit card. All good and well, except that when it came to swiping the card and processing the transaction the shop-lady said she didn't know how it worked. No problem; between me and Carolyn we managed to activate the card machine, insert the card correctly, punch in all the necessary information and get the receipt to appear!
Back on the road again, Carolyn and I talking ten to the dozen while William drove. Son we were back in Maganzo where I asked William to sto. I wanted to buy several stainless steel bowls, like the ones I use to feed the dogs. He parked the vehicle, we got out and going through a narrow alleyway, we emerged in the market. Being the middle of a holiday week, everything was very quiet. We tried several shops but couldn't find the dishes. Next minute I heard a voice behind me saying:"Salamu Bibi" It was Madu, the gardener at the Guest House. He was one of several of the staff who had Friday off.
Although William asked around concerning my bowls, he hit a brick wall. Then someone told him the shop which sells these dishes, was closed. Later I asked Zechariah, who's going to Maganzo this morning to buy them for me.
I saw a very small girl selling dagaa/whitebait. My cats love this fishy treat so I bought the largest container full. Afterwards, Carolyn and I asked her and her mum, at the shop next door, if we could take her picture. They agreed and afterwards she was delighted to see her image on our screens.
Imagine being this small and "manning" your mum's stall?
I took a photo of Carolyn in the market (with her camera) she took one of me with my camera. Are we corny or what?
Here I am, my bag of fish hanging from my wrist !
Then we asked William to take one of both of us standing in front of a shop stall. Madu was still hovering nearby so we called him to join us.
Madu, Carolyn and me. I still have the bag of fish hanging from my wrist!
William, Carolyn and I returned to the car, he drove back onto the main road and within ten minutes we were entering the mine gate. When we dropped Carolyn off at her place, she hugged me and thanked me for taking her along. It sure is a great experience when women shop together, not matter where in the world you find yourself!
Believe it or not, I'm linking this post to Saturday Critters with Eileen which you can visit here
Happy Saturday to you all.