Tuesday, February 19, 2013

Grocery Shopping

On the way home from work today I made a quick trip to a new grocery store that I wanted to check out. Mwanza is growing every day and there are a ton of little grocery stores that tend to carry much the same things. Cereal, powdered milk, pasta, canned beans, olives, capers, olive oil, etc. I am always on the lookout for a place that has some variety, so I decided to check this place out.

My coworker was with me as we perused the isles and she stopped at the cereals, picking up a bag of muselix. She was asking the cashier how to cook it and what to do with it so I explained to her that it was like a cereal and that it did not need to be cooked. I said you could eat it raw or you could put milk on it and that it was healthy because it had nuts and oats. A few minutes later I found a bottle of tahini (a rare but not uncommon thing) and my coworker wanted to know what it was used for. In English I tried to explain what I use it for (hummus and felafel usually). Then I went to checkout and the cashier wanted to know what I use the tahini for. Explaining it in English was hard enough, but in Swahili. Yeah, that was a lost cause. Then she started asking me about other things in the store and what they were used for. How do I explain in Swahili what rosewater is used for when I'm not even sure in English.

It just struck me as funny that all the grocery stores in Mwanza have these same items and no one knows what they're used for. Surely there aren't enough westerners to support a dozen stores that all sell the same things that no local person uses. Well, I guess if all else fails with my job with women I could maybe find a use in a grocery store in town.

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