White Women Pay for Themselves
‘Do you need anything before heading home? Wine, food, water?’
‘I should probably get water.’
We pause to check for cars before crossing the street. Right, left, right again. Or is it left, right, left? No, the former. We’re on the other side here.
We enter the grocery store. Mambo. Poa. Mambo. Poa. Habari. Nzuri. Za leo. Safi sana. Habari yako. Salama. Mambo. Salama. Za kazi. Safi kabisa.
After greeting everyone in the grocery store, I pause to peruse the alcohol aisle. It’s masochistic. I miss The Wine Bottega and Bert’s Better Beers too much. Even the old reliable New Hampshire Liquor and Wine Outlet is preferable to this selection.
‘Watch your bag,’ Adam warns me as I twist to face him in the narrow aisle, my backpack swinging around, ‘Don’t knock anything over.’ He wasn’t warning me about mwizi (a thief), but about klutziness.
We find the water; a 1.5 litre bottle is 1,000/=, about $0.60.
We greet the girls at checkout. They have a barcode scanner, the only one that I’ve seen in Moshi.
Adam pays for his items. I pay for mine. He’s speaking Swahili with the checkout girl. She gives me a look.
‘What did you say?’ I ask him as we walk past the Maasai askari (guard).
‘They asked me why you were paying. I told them, “White women pay for themselves.”‘