How you dodged juice at a send-off

Saturday May 4 2019


You’re still in Moro to further enjoy the allure of ‘Mji Kasoro Bahari’–that is, a great town, which should have been even greater but then, alas, it doesn’t boast a coastline like Dar!

To make your stay more exciting, you wangled an invitation card to a send-off party. Someone you somewhat know is marrying off a daughter and all you’ve to do to attend is to give a mchango. It’s never too late to contribute when it comes to this kind of function in modern-day Bongo.

Yes, you once witnessed a guy topping up his mchango to Sh100,000, right at the gate to the reception hall, for he had arrived hand-in-hand with his “samsing” while what he had earlier contributed—a “mere” Sh70,000—only qualified him as a single invitee!

An old associate in Moro, your good old pal (Prof Salu) impressed you that the impending send-off ceremony would be massive, with lots of edibles and drinkables plus colourful mini-events within the main event. You’re keen on the “drinkables” bit, but you didn’t say it. Weye mtu mzima eti!

You’re looking forward to an evening of great food and lots of beer. Even as an usher leads you to a table full of sodas, huge bottles of water, packs of Azam Juice, Malta Guinness and such other dreary stuff, you tell yourself that better things are to come soon as per individual guests’ orders. Beer drinkers are a varied lot: you don’t place just anything on their table before a request is made. That should be preceded by enquiries like: “Tukuletee bia gani?”, “Wataka Konyagi, Valeur au Gordons?” and other such important questions.

There’re five of us at the table, including two ladies clad in huge headgears. My fellow men are in caps popularly known as barghashia, and you notice the glee on their faces—and that of one of the ladies—as they work on the juice, self-service.


A server in a white blouse and blue skirt, approaches you and asks, “What do I open for you: Fanta, Pepsi, Mirinda or Coke?”

“None of those,” you say.

“Okay, then let me pour you some juice.”

“Nope,” you say, “Let me have a beer—preferably a Serengeti Lite, warm.”

The lady next to you says, “And please let me have a Heineken.”

“Sorry; all we have is what you see on the table, we’ll add more of the same when these are finished,” she says.

The Heineken lady leans towards you and whispers, “There’s a bar adjacent to this hall…let me take you there; we’ll come back here as soon as they start serving food.” Smart idea, you whisper back and agree that she sneaks out first. A few minutes later, you join her at the vibrant drinking establishment.

You discover several other send-off party guests are here too, celebrating “our” daughter’s send-off, and, like you and your tablemate, will walk back to the reception hall as soon they detect the whiff of pilau from there.