The Landscape of Dar
May 14, 2012 § 3 Comments
Dar es Salaam, from what I’ve seen so far, is very dirty. Filthy. Rats are a huge problem. Even our home, which is kept meticulously clean by Moshi and Mrs. Meghji, gets rats sometimes. Littering is not taboo here and there is trash everywhere in the streets. Trash pickup is inconsistent and the trash collection vehicle is just a big, open dump truck with two or three dudes riding in the back on top of the trash.
The streets are sort of paved and sort of dirt; when it rains everything turns to mud. Buildings are ramshackle and close together but all different. The old buildings have been added to and repaired so many times over the years that their original parts are sometimes unrecognizable. New glass and metal skyscrapers appear randomly throughout the city, without any obvious plan or reason. Dar’s cityscape is unique and beautiful, but still a little ugly – Frankenstein-esque.
Dar’s beauty is often in its humor. Each of the buses, for example, has its own motto painted colorfully on the sides, front and back – a word or phrase that they identify with. Most seem to stick with a religious theme, “Allahu Akhbar,” or “Allah will keep us safe,” or just, “Allah.” Some of the more creative individuals went with ideas like, “Laptop,” “Oxygen,” “Power,” and “Tutabanana Hapu Hapu!,” which translates as, “I will fight you right here, right now.” The liveliness and excitement of the city and its people is one of the best parts.