I WAS caught up in traffic the other day and I was by good chance listening to the radio.
I was actually listening to what was being said and not having it play in the background as I let my mind wonder into the unknown, as I usually do.
An official from the TanRoads was talking about how his office had changed the use of some of the major roads in Dar es Salaam. Ah.
So previously one way north to south routes have now become one way south to north routes, right? Okay.
Though, the TanRoads chap was impatient with the radio presenter, who like most of us, was having a hard time registering which roads the TanRoads guy was actually talking about.
We, the Tanzanian people, do not give road names, but we normally make land marks.
A Tanzanian giving directions will include everything from ‘go straight until you see a short building half painted red on the right,’ to “if you see a mango tree, you have gone too far” and might even hear someone giving directions and saying, ‘take the first left after you see a group of people drinking coffee.’
The best I heard was, “go until you’ll find some Maasai dancing on the left then take the first right after.” We simply do not know road names.
I can guarantee you that there are people who do not know which road is Ali Hassan Mwinyi, but can take you to Moroko from town quickly should you need.
This TanRoad guy was insisting on using road names and more over running over the new changes like we had all been involved in their internal TanRoad meetings since the idea came to play.
Talking quickly and impatiently like we all received the internal memos. It was apparent when he said, “It’s really quite obvious!” No sir, it isn’t and wasn’t. He further spoke of colours that would aid any driver in knowing which way he was to go.
Yellow to mean one way, Red to mean stop and I believe he also mentioned green as a go? No, no I don’t think that’s what he was saying at all.
His impatience in disseminating the information and obtuse assumption that again, we all knew these things meant that I only got that the CBD roads have changed. I, along with all the other Tanzanians who missed the info, would come to discover the how-so later.
And that would mean getting onto a road and should you see cars if there are oncoming hooting at you and you realise the only one going in that direction, that was one of the roads that have changed.
You have to quickly find a way out and this is exactly what I did when I go onto Samora Avenue going down from Clock Tower towards Askari Monument. This has now become a one way from Askari Monument to Clock Tower and I now know without a shadow of a doubt.
I now see the need to find a less frightening, less heart attack inducing way to discover the other changes in the CBD and also memorised the colour chart they have created.
I’m sure the TanRoad guy also mentioned an Orange, no? Gosh.