There are some things that come naturally, like peeing. I don’t know about massages or spas but when it comes to relaxing nothing beats a good old piss. There’s even a saying for it, when you’re on someone’s case with your thongs all up in a bunch they shout at you and tell you “Piss off”. Things that come naturally like writing an article on a rainy day with soft music playing in the background or ordering a cold beer and a kilo of nyama to go. These are the simple things that life throws your way. Stuff like waking up and snoozing an alarm, turning in bed and pulling the covers over your head.
Then there are things that feel awkward you can say they feel forced even, like texting in Swahili – there’s nothing as awkward as texting in Swahili. It reminds me of the day I decided to change my phones language setting and I spent the whole day talking with a coast accent. Swahili, even though is our national language has some very funny sounding words. Words like ‘bonyeza’. Bonyeza sounds like someone sat on a leather couch and it made a farting noise. You can’t even be sexy in Swahili. How would you send morning texts to your girlfriend?
“Mtoto, habari ya asubuhi?”
“Mzuri sana. Yako?”
“Njema. Nina hamu ya kukuwekelea mkono.” (Why does this sound like a CBD pastor talking to one of his vulnerable flock?)
“Njoo uweke, naskia pembe sana.”
I don’t know about you but I cringed writing that. It got me wondering how I’d fair with a Tanzanian lady. Something about their polite nature is intriguing. Just like a pregnant akorino, I’ve never seen a Tanzanian lady raise her voice. They are the kind to subdue you with politeness and kindness. The kind to make you feel bad for being angry at them. The kind to have a hot cup of Kahawa waiting when you go over to their place wearing shukas from head to toe with eye catching sayings like ‘Bwana ni mfalme’. Yes, I think they’d stroke your ego as subtly as they diffuse anger tantrums. They might not know how to send sexy text messages or you might not understand a word they say but in their presence the eyes would tell it all. Not a betrayal of carnal desires to rip each other apart and exchange bodily fluids, no, theirs would show an intimate desire to love and to be loved back. She’s the kind not to throw a tantrum if you forget her birthday, as long as you don’t forget she loves you.
They have this accent that feels like the ocean breeze blowing through palm tree leaves on an early morning as the tide leaves. The way they sometimes replace ‘R’ with ‘L’ and vice versa. You feel like you’d be right at home in their presence. The only weird bit of it would be trying to tailor your Swahili to match hers as she watches you fail miserably. She would find it funny and cute though and laugh modestly each time you try to speak. Then there are times the two of you won’t even speak but enjoy the silent company of each other, the soft thuds of your synchronized heartbeats and the rhythmic breathing with the occasional accidental glance into each other’s eyes followed by short shy giggles. Then it hit you that what seemed awkward maybe isn’t so awkward after all.
Movie dates have always been the go to thing since cinemas became the rage. I’m not talking about the casual ‘coming over and chilling’ movie dates that see more condom wrappers opened than DVD cases or movie files. I’m talking the traditional going out to an actual cinema hall with a date, buying tickets, snacks and sitting in a dark hall watching the national anthem, trailers and finally the movie. There’s also something about collective laughter that fills the hall when something funny happens. Yes, it’s annoying when you’re watching a camera copy from river road but, now, you’re part of the live action you feel a sense of belonging knowing you’re probably ruining the movie for someone somewhere waiting to pay 50 bob. You might exchange the occasional kiss and hand holding throughout the entire movie and have something to talk about on your way home or go for a drink and spend the whole night texting on how good the whole date was.
What if I told you that you could get a movie ticket, a small popcorn, soda and a hotdog/chocolate for only 600? I only said what if I told you. It’s up to you to find out where the offer is and who you’ll go with. As for me I’m trying to figure out how to ask a Tanzanian girl out for a movie in Swahili.