One of the fun things about language school is getting to go on occasional field trips. The field trips help us to practice speaking and understanding Swahili. For the intermediate course we went to the market in Kitatiti (Soko la Kikatiti). It is a local market held on Tuesday and Friday and you can find anything there. You can buy clothes, household items, grains in bulk and smaller quantities, some fruits and vegetables, kangas and kitenges (cloths), electronic items and ………livestock. There is an area where you can buy cows, sheep and goats. A sheep costs Tsh 45,000 ($29), a goat Tsh 35,000 ($23) and a cow Tsh 400,000 ($258). It was an fun field trip and since we didn’t have money to buy a goat, sheep or cow the sellers sort of chased us away.
Community Projects (Miradi ya Jamii): For our lesson on community projects and development my class visited Mama Merlyn who makes kikois, batiks and beadwork. Mama Merlyn learned how to make the kikois and batiks from friends. Her work has been in fashion shows in Dar-es-Salaam and she makes special orders for customers.
Making a kikoi is seems like a complicated task. It takes 2040 threads to make one piece. It takes 2 weeks to fill the bobbins, put all of the different spools of threads on the beams, and thread the needles and there are lots of needles. Once all of that is finished it takes 1 day to make 7 pieces. She buys the thread in big rolls of white and has to dye it to make many of the colors that she needs.
To make a batik, she uses melted candle and a sponge with a pattern to make different designs on a white cloth. After the patterns have been stamped, she mixes her colors then puts the cloth in for about 10 minutes so the color can take. Then she puts the cloth in hot water so that the candle wax can melt off and then you get the finished product.