Along the streets of Moshi Town

There are two major streets that run through Moshi Town, one is known as Market Street, the other as Double Road.

The central bus station as seen from Market Street.
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A view of Kilimanjaro from Double Road.
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All of the streets in Moshi Town are bustling from sunup till sundown, but these two streets are probably some of the most travelled. They are a key artery for the local public transportation system – if you want to head south, you catch a daladala on Double Road; if you want to head north, you catch one on Market Street. Their wide sidewalks are also perfect for those enterprising individuals who make their living selling goods and services to the thousands of pedestrians who pass by daily.

Taylors set up shop pretty much every day except Sundays, and every taylor has their specific location. The men mostly sew men’s suits; the women sew dresses for many of Moshi’s residents, as well as a variety of items for the countless tourists that come through. They will also mend your clothing while you wait.
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You can also find people to repair your watches, phones, and shoes, give you a manicure or pedicure (interestingly, I have only ever seen men provide this service!), duplicate your keys, sharpen your knives… there are even at least a dozen medicine booths where Maasai men will prescribe all kinds of combinations of their traditional herbs and powders for a wide array of ailments. But sadly, I don’t have photos of any of these.

Much of the rest of the sidewalk space throughout town is taken up by vendors selling almost anything you could imagine.

Produce
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Movies & TV shows
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Books
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Hats
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Shirts
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Socks
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Shoes (and soccer jerseys)
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Locally crafted leather shoes
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Street food (roast corn, tart mangoes with salt and chili powder, avocados, oranges, bananas, etc…)
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Watches, sunglasses, leather belts and wallets, jewelry…
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…radios, flashlights, even Al-Shabaab razors…?
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I think the street vendor culture is one of the characteristics I most enjoyed about living in Moshi. It’s so very different than what we are used to in the West, and it ends up adding so much color and movement to the streets. Walking on the sidewalk didn’t have to be just a means to an end, but became an adventure for the senses. I never knew what I might come across. Not to mention the fact that it gave me an excuse to browse the rows of shoes every time I went grocery shopping. 🙂

The first of the last posts

Sorry for the long silence. The past month or so have been filled with moving back to the US! A few days before we left Moshi, we walked around town and I took as many photos as I was able so that I could, a) have some great visual reminders of everyday life there, and b) help you hopefully create a better picture of Moshi for yourselves.

This first post will just be dedicated to my walk/ride into Moshi town.

The Doctor’s Compound, where we lived, is kind of on the northwest edge of Moshi. It took me about 30-45 minutes to get into town, depending on how many stops the Daladala (public transport van) made. I usually took this trek into town about once a week, for groceries.

This is the road leading from the Doctor’s Compound to KCMC.
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The fields surrounding this road all belong to KCMC. We recently learned that the hospital divides the fields up so that its staff can each have a piece of land to farm. Not only that, but it also tills all the land with a tractor (this is a significant help, seeing as most people would otherwise have to till their plot by hand!)
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Sure enough, right before the long rains, every portion that I could see on my walk into town was being cultivated.
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Most people around us grew beans, but a good number also grew sunflowers. I was told they take the seeds and have them pressed for oil. (Sunflower oil is one of the main cooking oils in Tanzania. I never really used it before we lived in Moshi, but it’s now one of my favorites for all-purpose cooking.)
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It takes about 15 minutes to walk to the Daladala stand. After the fields, I would pass the entryway to an alley everyone called Gaza Strip. Don’t ask me why! It’s packed with small “duka’s” that range from one-room grocery/general stores to stationary/photocopying services, to tailors/clothing shops, to restaurants. It sits directly behind the KCMC medical college, so I have a feeling it exists mostly for, and because of, the medical students.
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These next two photos show the road leading through and out of the hospital compound. The Daladala stand sits on the hospital property, to the left of this road, and is the start & end point for a good number of the Daladala’s in town.
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I actually didn’t take a Daladala when I snapped these photos. But to give you an idea of my typical Daladala ride in Moshi, here’s a video I shot the first time we were in Moshi.

Now the road leading into town.
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Looks like this Daladala was having some technical difficulties…
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There are very few street signs in Moshi, so people use other methods when giving directions. One is that all of the roundabouts are named. This first one is called the Water Roundabout. The statue in the center reads “Water is Life.”
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The second roundabout is known as either the Coke Roundabout, or the Clock Tower. (It’s maintained by Moshi’s Coca Cola bottling factory, Bonite Bottlers.)
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The Daladala would take me up Double Road, and I would get off right near one of the main “soko’s” (outdoor produce market). This is where I bought pretty much all of my fresh produce, beans, and meat. (The photo here is only showing the street adjacent to the soko – the market itself is behind the buildings on the left.)
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On the way back I usually stopped at a couple of different grocery stores to buy any packaged food (pasta, sugar, yogurt, bread, milk) or other household supplies. I found a few of my favorites and stuck with them. This one (on the right) is the Kilimanjaro Supermarket.
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Then, at the end of my trip, I would usually swing by Aleem’s, another grocery store where, depending on what’s in stock, you can pretty much find anything you want (for a price). Some delicious cheeses, awesome (cheap) curry paste, coconut milk, even boxed cake mixes and wine vinegar. Across from Aleem’s is Abbas Hot Bread Shop. They have pretty good white bread – round loaves and baguettes, and really delicious croissants. Unfortunately I didn’t get any photos of these two shops, so you’ll just have to make do with your imagination.

By this point, loaded down with a week’s worth of groceries, hot and tired, I would take a taxi back to our house for about $3. The whole grocery trip usually took between 2 and 3 hours. Phew!