Wednesday, May 28, 2008

down town mbauda.

i rode up the hill this evening, on my white horse called Rhino. i swear he is a Moon Unicorn. yes. i am in love with this horse. we rode to the top of the back hill where the views are blissful and addictive. its like you've been thrown into the middle of a painting..a giant giant landscape 3 D.

if you look eastwards, you see Mt Meru and Kilimanjaro (on a clear day ) - both dormant volcanoes; slowly scan right and flung as far as you can see, are the great Maasai Steppes - the plains, sprinked with odd soothing round hills, some small dead volcanoes, with craters in the middle. and behind me the giant knuckles of monduli mountain. the wind was wild on top of the hill, with grey winter clouds steeling their way towards us, a lanner falcon slicing the air. and nestled just below mt meru lies arusha. the A Town, as its fondly referred to on kiss FM.

arusha is a crazy place. there is no planning. at least there has been no town planning in the past, clearly. everything is just mixed up. the good, the bad and the ugly. god and allah. the devil and the angel. mealies in the rose gardens. mud walls and the marble counters. shops selling dubai wonders (like singing osama bin laden puppets) and plastic gold sparkle next to a market place in a cart. maybe that's how the effing factory got to be where it is....marring our pastoral scene. our sense of how it should be...

down town arusha, called mbauda (pronounced IM BAA OODAH emphasis on the BAA and which slowly morphs into another area called majengo) has sorted itself out. it just grew that way. organically. out of the black volcanic ground - lining The Main Road. feeding from and into the town. a grey vein. craig calls it angela's ashes. you won't see anyone slouching sleepily and picking their noses doing nothing. everyone is busy...from the thieves to the iron mongerers, like tadeus, who can make beautiful wrought iron french-style beds, carpenters making and selling heavily varnished furniture with red and gold velvet cushions, mechanics, market ladies sitting like giant magnolias over their calm plump red tomatoes all piled in little pyramids in symmetric shining rows; hands of green curly sweet bananas, small dukkas (shops) made out of wood and tin - like a string of faded wooden pastel beads, dusted in charcoal and black earth, strung crookedly together, leaning against each other with lopsided fabulous hand painted signs- all selling the same thing - kangas ( african printed cotton cloth), washing powder, matches, sembe (mealie meal sugar, Nido and lots of made in china trinkets. bicylces lean up against the dukkas. goats. ducks. chickens. kids squabble in the mud, poking in the drains for treasures. and there are computer places, colleges, molasses being sold from the big blue trucks, mosques amongst the mangoes. young maasai moran (warriors) strolling hand in hand, their spears casually slung over their shoulders, their red or purple shukkas (robes) reminiscent of Rome, kokatenis (carts pulled or pushed by people) weaving in and out of the traffic and onto the pavements with their heavy loads. it's a busy place. you always have time to absorb the mbauda scene because there is always a traffic jam.

mbauda only gets to sleep after midnight. as twilight descends, the lanterns are lit by the Magnolia Ladies. the fires burn and there is a toasty smell of roasted maize or even better nyama choma (roasted meat). women crouch fanning their fires and turning their maize. people idly chat huddled around the fires. the bars are blue and full. indigo blue. the Saloons (hairdressers and barber shops) are places of great beauty, action and light. blue and pink. the whores lean wearily against walls, waiting. being harrassed. high heeled and hot. i worry for them.

i worry for the women and the children. i want them to be off the streets and into a light warm safe place. away from the darkness - the drunkeness, the unkown.

mbauda is a dreamscape. a flowing celluloid mirage of possibilities, hopes and chaos.

Kitchen Blackboard: Wednesday evening: 28 May 2008:

Contributors: Janelle, Daniel, Rubin and Gabriella.

Comments: ok ok ok. so i tampered with it. god. i PLANNED IT! i broke my solomn (sp???) promise to you all. man. now you're never going to trust me again. its just that there was nothing on the board this evening - dull dull dull. tam ( commented that i should write "Mum Is A Word Queen" . so i did. the kids doodled waiting for their macaroni cheese...
SEE THE W X Y Bracket Lady on the very LHS....i told you.


Miranda said...

Love it love it love it!

Janelle said...

ah thanks thanks THAAAAAAAAAANKS!!! XXX

Miranda said...

Really, it just captures this whole jingly jangly place PERFECTLY! Wish I could write like you!