That summer Saturday afternoon, when I was ten years old. The Sunday afternoon begins with chapati na maharagwe ya nazi in a petticoat and a white pantie underneath. My then eight years old brother, Alwy in his blue favorite shorts, dad in a vest and kikoi and mum in a dera. It used to be very hot, very sunny and very windy. In short, very humid. We’d sit at our dining table which was at the verandah. Our house was structured in a way where the verandah had an opening on the roofing where the rain can come in and sun can shine through and light up the area. It was our favourite place, we loved it more than the living room. The verandah is where we used to have our indoor games with dad during holidays and weekend, where we would sit down for a chat because there was an old bamboo three seat chair at one corner and the kids’ bedroom on another corner. That was my favorite house in all houses we’ve ever been in. The dining table has been my favorite place ever since. It United the family and built the culture of making announcement after meals, catching up and bonding.
That Saturday we wouldn’t talk much, we’d eat very fast and rush to take a shower. We knew we were going out almost every Saturday afternoon, as a family. We had a very shy and beautiful househelp called Saumu who helped mum clean up the eating area and utensils as we showered and dressed up. Sometimes she’d agree to go with us, other times she stayed back and enjoyed an afternoon read. She is one of the people who inspired me to read. In those afternoons on weekdays when I didn’t want to nap, I’d read. Saumu would read kiswahili story books with me, or stories featured on newspapers. We had a lot of Tanzania newspapers since dad bought them everyday. We still do have them.
After showering and dressing up, mum would undo my matuta into two beautiful ponytails. I had very long hair. I used to admire that hair. I’ve been having thick, black, shoulder length 4C type of hair, for more than 20 years. Till the day I popped my cherry and decided to go for a big chop.
Mostly, mum would devide my hair into two sections and tie pussycat. It was my favourite hairstyle. After the hair, I’d put on my ankle length lace socks with a pink flower on the side and my favorite white Cinderella boots. Then we’d go out, get into a taxi- or whatever it was. I do not quite remember where this car always came from 😄. Sometimes we’d hope into a matatu because there were not many people in the streets in Saturday afternoons. We’d alight somewhere in Bamburi and take a very long walk. In front was mum and Alwy, then dad and I are behind them, protecting them 😄. Finally, we’d find ourselves on a white sand. Then I would start thinking, “why am I in socks and heels?” but it didn’t bother me, and I didn’t remove them. We’d walk to the shore and find very little people around. I wonder where everyone was. Actually, where were people? These people that I currently bump into in each restaurant I go to, or the streets, where were y’all at that age?
In our swimming costumes, (Alwy and I) we’d run to the salty water, play around with water, get ourselves wet till around 1600hrs where the wind becomes heavy. We’d come back tired, dress up and move out of the beach area. Suddenly, we’d find ourselves in a beautiful restaurant, for a snack. We’d carry crisps and picana juice to a game area. I do not have a memory of where these areas are. This other place looked like the current mamba village.
Mum and dad would sit down for a chat while Alwy and I run around playing on the swings. When the sun went down, we’d start heading back home, with a lot of toys. Exhausted and full of snacks in our tummies. We’d still have some black Morrocan tea or Swahili coffee, with our chapati na maharagwe ya nazi.
That feeling, that weather, that mood is what I always have when I wear WHITE TEA perfume by Elizabeth Arden. Nostalgic.