The Swindler

There are a lot of friendly people here in Tanzania, and then there are the swindlers, the people who only see you as a walking dollar sign. “Rafiki! My friend! My friend!” They want to possess you, own you. I was leaving a fabric store (where I’d been making plans to have a dress made for my niece) when the latest swindler accosted me. “You are looking for kanga, friend?” “No.” “What are you looking for? I can help you.” I had been having trouble locating a store that sold soccer jerseys, so I thought I might as well ask him. He knew the place, and brought me straight to it. I was hoping he’d leave at this point, but it’s never that easy.

I was trying to exchange a jersey I had bought there two weeks ago. “This is impossible,” said the Swindler. “Why?” The jerseys were nearly identical. “This material is much better,” he said of the new jersey. The material was exactly the same. He said there was no way to know where I had bought the jersey, since the owner was on safari (and they did not give me a receipt). The jersey was still in its bag, and the man I had purchased it from was standing right next to the Swindler, sullen and silent. “I bought it from him.” The Swindler refused to accept this. “He does not remember you.” A bald faced lie. I marched out of the store in silent defiance and went to console myself with a milkshake.

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One Response

  1. joel, even though I’m not commenting as often as I should, I wanted you to know these stories you’ve been telling are so appreciated and loved and laughed at (with?).

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