Don’t stop walking

Early morning quiet.

It only took me three days but I did it: I Got Lost. I decided to be adventurous and try to find the Msasani Fish Market. The directions I was given were simple enough, but I somehow missed the fish graffiti I was supposed to see and ended up walking to the Slipway, which was fine. After getting some ideas of how much large wooden giraffe sculptures cost and walking away with only 3 postcards and a box of Tanzanian tea, I started heading back home. What threw me off was my decision to stop in a produce shop the size of my bathroom (where I bought green beans, tomatoes, potatoes, and snow peas for ~2 USD and was gifted an orange by the store owner), because I think I ended up turning the wrong way and ended up in a maze of buildings that all had KK Security signs and “Hatari” (danger) on them. When I reached a dead end, my heart sank a little. I don’t know if there’s any truth in this, but I have this idea that I have to avoid looking lost/vulnerable when I’m walking by myself here. I don’t walk around with a map or guidebook or even my Swahili phrasebook (the latter which I may have to rethink), and I don’t stop walking. A man sitting outside one of the buildings certainly noticed my escalating confusion when I reached the dead end and started speaking rapid Swahili to me, at which point I promptly pivoted and walked in the opposite direction. After another series of wrong turns, I decide to ask a security guard outside a building. I stated one of the landmarks near my apartment and she thankfully understood, motioning to a small 7-8 year old kid to direct me.

For the next 5-10 minutes, the boy and I walked side-by-side in silence. I tried to rack my brain for Swahili phrases but came up empty (yes, no, and hello don’t make up for very interesting conversation). The walk seemed disproportionately long, but the boy seemed to know where he was going and I followed him turn after turn. I said asante and we parted ways, and my tired feet in my new sandals now caked with dirt took me back to the place I’m starting to call home.

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