For Sale, Tanzania
I saw a man walking down the street with a sink on his head. It isn’t strange to see something like this here. People carry all kinds of bizarre things on their heads. It seems if they want to buy or sell something, they transport it with their own two feet, all their muscles, and a wellspring of willpower. These rules seem to apply even in the heaviest heat, or even wearing a tie.
I saw someone on a bicycle, pedaling along a congested, 4-lane road, in traffic I never dreamed possible. Hanging off the back of his bike were several cumbersome sheets of huge corrugated metal, like a shack might use for a roof. On top of these, a complete leather sofa. As he passed, the chain slipped off his bicycle. He leaned down, still going along with the cars and his miraculously balancing load, and hooked his chain back up without stopping or toppling. And he kept pedaling, over the bridge.
It seems you can buy anything on the street here: hangers, cashews, live rabbits, clocks, bike tires, poison. If you happen to need something, you think, Wait, where did I see that guy? Sellers walk down the middle of busy streets, products in hand, approaching car windows in the slow traffic. Just in case that man in the black car needs a soccer ball. Or an inflatable pool.
Alternatively, people hang their goods from the nearest tree. The only thing I have seen hanging from a tree in the States is toilet paper from a teenage prank. Rolls and rolls of refined and processed paper (trees themselves, originally) to mock the unfortunate chosen home. In Dar, I passed by a tree displaying a toilet seat, hanging by a string. Likely someone looking for work as a plumber, yet all I can think of is the myriad of ways American culture has found to be wasteful.
Riding on a bus with other newcomers, one woman was complaining about how she couldn’t sleep well on these African beds. While she dreamed about receiving her shipment of her own bedding, coffins the size of children passed by the window, for sale on the side of the road.