- Published on Saturday, 05 May 2012 02:24
- Written by Lawi Joel
- Hits: 2148
RELOCATING home or office has its advantages and disadvantage. The person moving may benefit just as the new neighbours may. In sum, it has its costs. So when my employer -- Tanzania Standard Newspapers -- relocated from Samora Avenue at the centre of Dar es Salaam city, somebody may have had some loss.
I gained more and lost a little. The bottom line is, I rejoiced a lot. I may have left behind many of my contacts behind downtown, as it were. However, environmentally, the city centre is the metropolitan’s part with the most polluted air. Obviously, therefore, I had lived a risky life at our old office by stuffing my lungs with automobiles’ and generators’ fumes that most of the day roared endlessly when there was no power.
Fortunately, the relocation of our office rewarded me with a more open view and fresher air. It all meant a healthier life. I found the new building by Mandela Highway attractive, prestigious and coincidentally, my office was located at the top of the three-storey office building.
At my seat there on the third floor I have a beautiful scene out on the road every time I look out of the window. What I see is a stagnant long rugged, long snake of cars. When the motorized snake does move, it crawls just a little before it remains still for another long moment.
The place has another advantage. Climbing upstairs to my office was a ready-made exercise because I have to walk up or down 60 stairs. That is exercise enough. If I do it three times for any reason, I shall have walked those stairs 180 times and I know I am going to do it 5 days a week until God-knows-when.
I’ll be fit like a hoarse. At the previous TSN home downtown was a storey building too but there we were on the first floor. Laborious walking there might be, but now all of us on the third floor have a more strenuous climb and many, despite efforts to acclimatize, are out of wind by the time they reach their seats.
Condemned to the ascent and descent several times a day, some of us must be cursing who the dickens designed the building, which was unfortunately designed with no disabled in mind. I responded to my new professional home with qualified character and began to explore the environs to know my neighbours.
Curiosity may have killed the proverbial cat, but the cat on the other hand may have had too many lives. I was in the first place not a member of the feline family and curiosity was not going to kill me. On the second day at our new office I walked outside the gate and turned right to acquaint myself with that part of our surrounding.
There were business people selling chicks and chicken feeds. I saw a young man roasting maize. Toast maize is my favourite. I approached the young man and stood by as he dug into a maize cob the sharp flat end of a nail he used cut the crop into desired portions. I bought a piece for 200/-. Then we talked.
Juma Mohamed, a young man who scrapes a living by selling roast maze by the roadside in Tazara, literally had a business revolution. Juma could pray for nothing better than having the TSN journalists’ office moved next to his business spot. The 25 year old Juma saw his sale rise by more than twice what he earned previously.
“Are you happy now? Reporter at Large asked him. “I thank God,” was his simple answer. Juma may not be thinking of building a bungalow in some high class part of the city as yet, but the weight of his pocket is getting heavier by the day and, God willing, he may soon stop living in a rental house in a squatter area in the city’s suburb of Tandika.
His longstanding plan has been to build his own house somewhere in Chanika, a just 30-minute ride outside the city, but the five-four young man has ridden rough and soft waves of time. Sometime last year ill fate struck him. Plaintively, he explains what befell him. “Before I began doing this business, I sold shoes for women somewhere downtown.
I earned good money. One day I got word that my father-in-law in Tanga was ill and I went to see him.” That was when Juma’s plan to buy a piece of land and build his own house grew wings and flew away. While he was away in Tanga, thieves broke into the store he had kept his merchandise in and stole it all.
The owner of the store put up a stiff battle when Juma demanded payment for his stolen goods. “In the end I got only 100,000/-, and started this maize business,” he says. But the advent of a new neighbour has brought a revolution in Juma’s life. Previously, he bought and sold 60 to 70 cobs of maize,” he explains.
“But a cob of roast maize fetches for him 500/- to 700/-. Given what he pays for it, 300/-, Juma is doing a lucrative business, and any fate that would eradicate the TSN newspapers offices from his neighbourhood would no doubt stop his heart. The absence of good meal places has played into Juma’s hands, leaving him with no strong competitor.
He has declared he is going to pull, enlivened by the new development in the neighbour, Juma says he is going full throttle in business. “I am now going to buy 120 cobs of maize,” he says. That means only one thing. I understand the Japanese carmaker of TOYOTA subjects its workers to physical exercise in the morning just before they begin work to give them a better form for work.
The new TSN home will comparatively have more fit workers because of the nature of the buildings. Its neighbours too, particularly Juma, who is married with a child, will have a happier family.