Friday, October 10, 2008

On mitumba, actors and thieves

Ah a great day was had today. By me anyway. I hope you all had a good day today too.

Went to mitumba with the actors to buy costumes this morning. I have written about mitumba before but I think it deserves another tribute. Ah, mitumba! Imagine an area the size of a rugby field (that old line) dotted, strewn – what’s the right word? – piled? - with heaps upon heaps upon heaps of second hand clothes. Anything and everything you can think of. Sequined ball gowns to cruddy shoes to 50cent t-shirts. Can you imagine anything more satisfying? More exhilarating? More fun? Probably. But it’s GREAT! I LOVE it! I was about to say I’m not one for retail therapy, for shopping for shopping’s sake, but that’s actually not true at all. Heh heh. But I think that’s only because I’ve never lived in a city and it’s still all a bit novel. But mitumba? Mitumba is different. Extra special.

Anyway. Bla.

Today we went to a new mitumba for me - a different, open air one. ‘The cheap one.’ And indeed it is. We bought: 5 pairs of trousers, 14 t-shirts, 8 pairs of shorts, 2 skirts, 5 shirts, 3 khangas and probably lots more that I’ve forgotten for under 50 bucks. Not bad, huh? Oh and – since it was all a bit manic and I was trailing 11 people – I managed to be blinkered and not get distracted by pretty pink, shiny things. Well done me. But it’s open every Friday and Monday I’m told so I’ll be back. You betcha.

Then we all piled into a series of daladalas (minibus taxis) back to work. You know the scene. About 35 people crammed into a bus made for 14. Armpits in your face, babies on your lap, chatter, laughter, general good cheer.

Except at one changeover station, busy busy, loads of pushing and shoving, where a man pushed into me and stuck his fingers in my pocket. Ha. I was not to be fooled. I shouted, pulled his fingers out and bent them back. He then put his hands up and pretended to be all innocent. Yeah right. We were standing right next to a big storm drain and the actors said I should have pushed him in. Heh heh. Maybe next time, Mr mwizi man.

I always find afternoons a bit hard getting people to act – especially the physical stuff. Acting no – acting up, yes. Especially after a MASSIVE lunch of stodgy ugali (maize meal). Especially with new actors who have not yet been at the brunt of my slave driving ways. Nyahahahaha. Lots of eyebrows thrown skyward and sighs and dragging feet (literally. Ooooh nothing annoys me more than dragging feet). And THAT’s not going to help your cause! Anyway, so we knocked off early, and I rode home (first day to brave the crazy scary traffic in town on my motorbike – sorry mom!), inhaling fumes, with the bright sun in my eyes, a full tummy and a successful first week of working in Tanzania behind me. Hurrah!

Three cheers.


spacedlaw said...

That market place sounds like heaps of fun indeed. The ideal place for scong hand theater costume (I wish I could have had some place like this when I was sorting out the costume for my Italian theater group, back in Holland...).
Love your pictures too.

fush and chips said...

Mitumba sounds just like Mbare market in Harare. If you looked long enough, you could find anything there. Gigi and I used to buy loads of clothes odds and ends there.

Keep up the work.

Ernest de Cugnac said...

jeez miranda, surprised anyone brave or foolish enough to put his hand in your pocket. Broken fingers next time. Glad you had a good day quand meme.

Miranda said...

spacedlaw - oh it is SO much fun! And so perfect for costume shopping. your Italian theatre group in Holland....sounds intriguing...

Tim - Yes, I imagine its exactly like Mbare market (then anyway!). You can indeed find pretty much anything if you have a steady supply of time and patience

Ernest! Ernest! A comment! Indeed, little did he know! Yes broken fingers next time, I think!

Reya Mellicker said...

I knew your inspiration would return. All artists struggle with the muse ... seems unfair, doesn't it?

I love thrift markets! And your pics - beautiful.

Must admit, after lunch I always feel a bit loopy. It's a tough job for a director to keep the actors focussed, though you're more than up to it, I imagine.

Happy weekend!

Gary said...

what an exciting life you seem to lead. good for you. The photos are really full of life and curiosity.

thanks for stopping by my blog and commenting. I appreciate it.

Lori ann said...

I love your photos miranda, a lovely post!
x lori

Crystal Jigsaw said...

50 bucks defintely a bargain for all that stuff.

CJ xx

Janelle said...

hoorah hoorah hoora! LOVEITLOVEITLOVEIT!!!! promise! happy now? my knuckles have been suitable wrapped...jeez! got the new song on ipod...but ho hum...not entirely sure....guess its part of the process...xxxx j

Janelle said...

meant suitably! its sunday.

Chimera said...

Miranda got her mojo back! That is fab! You could equally have shouted 'Sweet jesus' over your shoulder. (I am thinking of when I write the film of the book of you and Tam!) Yeah that was last post but I have been distracted... I LURVE salaula. I do i do. Your posts are full of sparking pink things old and new too!
Take care,
T xx

Mud in the City said...

How exciting! ANd well done for nabbing that potential pick pocket - he chose the wrong victim there!!

Anonymous said...

this is kind of random, i love your blog, and was wondering if you knew anyone in arusha selling reasonably priced 4x4 vehicles, not landcruisers but something smaller like a suzuki vitara? if you do i would appreciate it so much if you could email me at

Miranda said...

Reya, thanks. Yes always a little difficult after lunch but hey, we manage - at least we HAVE lunch to eat!!

Gary, thanks for the visit! Enjoy your blog.

Lori - thanks. These pics are of our plays - actors and/or audience

Crystal - it sure is! Will certainly go back

Janelle - good to see you today and the song is AMAZING!

Ah Tanvi you are too kind! Yes salaula ROCKS

Mud - yes he dd!

Anonymous - thanks for the visit. I don't know of any off hand but I'll keep an ear and eye open and will email you if I hear.