One thing that I have noticed in my time in Tanzania is how well people set up their shops or little stalls. Everything is neatly arranged and presented regardless of how big or small the business is. If you visit a local market, even the vegetables are displayed perfectly. Whether they are selling shoes, clothes, hardware or food, the sellers always take extra care in making sure that their products are nicely presented.
I have noted this in every part of the country that I have been to, regardless of how remote.
I am at times surprised at how some businesses survive as it is common to walk through a market or certain streets to find 10 different shop owners selling exactly the same thing. I always wonder how they cope with the competition. However, everyone seems to be OK its neighbour also trying their luck.
The other thing I like is the names people choose for their businesses. Some are outright strange and some extremely funny. One of the weirdest shop names that I have seen is “Mtoto Butcher” which translated literally means ‘children butcher’! I have seen a couple of these around Arusha. One thing is for sure, I do not buy my meat there!
Other funny and interesting shop names include “The White House bar, World Trade Centre bar, Obama Guest House, Toroka uje restaurant (‘runaway and come’), Hot cake hair saloon, Gods Hardware, Hoti Poti restaurant” and “Glory hair saloon”. When you are travelling in Tanzania keep an eye out for them, you will be highly entertained.
Another aspect I find truly creative is the pictures painted on the walls of shops. If it’s a hair salon then usually they have portraits of men and women who look very stylish with various haircuts. Butchers usually have pictures of animals, pieces of meat or sometimes also dripping blood. Hardware shops display images of toilets, pipes, screws and other hardware related things. There are some really funny looking designs out there, which always make you smile when you see them. It is never boring to walk down the road in Tanzania, you always see something new.