Fueled by chapati mbili and a perfect mug of chai ya rangi, I’m ready to work.
I resolved to carry out four chapati to eat along this morning while I worked, in denial about the fact that it’s impossible to eat chapati and type at the same time. It takes two hands to rip off pieces, and there’s just enough oil remaining on the fried dough that it makes hands too dirty for keyboards. Nevertheless, four chapati it would be.
Truth be told, I did want chai, but I wanted it to be as good as—if not better than—the chai that I had at the café by the bus stage.
I approached Mama Freddy’s and greeted her.
And then she said something that ended in chai.
‘Chai, sawa.’ I ordered.
And to accompany, chapati mbili (two chapati, same as in India: unleavened bread, lightly pan-fried and just thick enough to be floppy and chewy), although the maandazi (triangular-shaped fried bread, closer to fried dough than to a donut) were tempting.
I wasn’t disappointed.
For extra credit, we had this conversation in Swahili:
How much is it?
For chai and two chapati, seven hundred.
What is your name?
My name is Lulu.
Where are you from?
Sorry, I don’t understand.
Where are you from? I’m from Tanzania.
O, me, I’m from America.
How long have you been in Tanzania?
O… Four weeks.
Your Swahili is very good!
No, it’s not. But thank you. I’m learning.