On Rose Garden Road
On Saturday morning, ER and I moved into our new apartment off Rose Garden Road.
We weren’t entirely surprised to find that construction was not finished. The paint wasn’t dry, the water didn’t run, and the lights hadn’t been installed. We opened the front door to find a construction worker hastily assembling something and a cleaner sweeping the rooms.
By Sunday evening, most of these problems had been resolved and, under the glow of the stars, our landlords introduced us to our neighbours, a family from Colombia that has been living in Dar for eight months. Our landlords are Tanzanian and live with their three children in a house directly underneath our apartments. The conversation was part English, part Spanish, and part Swahili, and was accompanied by a lot of hand gesturing and laughter.
Somehow we all made ourselves understood. Our Colombian neighbours said, our door is always open and please let us know if you need anything, even if it is only a pinch of salt. They called over their daughter, who joined us on the balcony and immediately used her smart phone to look me up on Facebook. Our landlord’s brother said, yes knock on our door if you need anything. Our landlord’s 14-year-old son said, you are my new favourite neighbours and can I borrow your internet modem?
After dinner, I ran over to the duka across the street to buy credits for my modem. The store owner introduced himself and said, I’ve noticed you are new to the neighbourhood and welcome. On the way back, two Maasai wearing red shuka gave me high fives.
Back in my apartment, I heard the call to prayer from a mosque somewhere in the neighbourhood. And I thought, I think I’m going to like it here on Rose Garden Road.