Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Tailor Made in Tanzania

I found myself and my Danish friends on the blog of a delightful British gentleman we met when we took our trip to the beach paradise of Pangani (see blog in October).  His blog is quite entertaining, and describes the culture and language of Tanzania in a fun way.  I'm a bit jealous of his location, at the YMCA that we stayed at on the beach.  The picture of us was nice except I always forget how short I am.  Oh well, good thing I have a healthy Napoleon complex to go with it.

I'm almost done with my field work in Amani Nature Reserve, and then I will go on to Dar Es Salaam for more interviews and then on back to Norway and then the U.S.!  I am excited to see everyone, and for the first time in years I had fun buying Christmas presents, as I could buy from local people here and support their business, and I have found some unique crafts that I hope friends and family will like.  Rather than the touristy stuff I see everywhere (well, actually, maybe some touristy stuff...).

I had a dress made for myself as well, which I felt a bit guilty about but it's so fun to pick fabric and have a tailor make a dress fit just my size.  I took some glamour shots of myself with some nice Amani nature behind me.  The locals here were really excited about my dress, as they don't often see mzungu (foreigner, mostly referring to people of European descent) at all, much less wearing African clothes.   


 I'm very happy with it, and I took some pictures with the tailor as well, on his request.  He hasn't gotten many mzungu customers, if ever.  I sent the pictures to my translator here, who says he will make prints for them.  


Here he is fixing the skirt, with his assistant (maybe also wife?) next to him.


It was a bit of an awkward experience, mostly when I was trying on the dress to make sure it was good, and I had to use a store room with no lights, and try to struggle into the blouse over my sweaty self.  Of course I took longer than they thought I should, so a woman peeked in at me half-dressed and I said a bit harried, "Dakika moja!" which is "one minute" and they had a conversation about it that I didn't understand when she closed the door, but I heard her repeat what I said.  It was a big day for everyone involved.  It all worked out in the end and I'm glad I went!

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