22 – A house in Burton Street

Dar es Salaam map - kongwa2london.comIt was an old colonial house with two storeys close to the street. At the back of the house was a large garden overlooked by a long veranda

We had a veterinary surgery as our neighbour, we could tell this by the number of dead dogs found in our dustbin.


I went to Burton Street School, just down the street near the museum and botanical gardens. My siblings and I used to walk through the gardens. One day Toni picked a fruit from one of the trees and started to eat it, her mouth started burning and she had trouble breathing. She was rushed to the Ocean Road Hospital to have her stomach pumped. Not only had she had a near-death encounter with a snake, but now one from a forbidden fruit, would you ‘Adam and Eve it’.

For some reason forgotten in the mists of time, I too spent a few days at the Ocean Road Hospital. I had my own room overlooking the said Ocean Road. I remember hearing my parent’s car horn beep and I would dash to the window to wave. There was a good chance it wasn’t my parents’ car and I was waving at perfect strangers.

I had a button by the side of the bed and had been told that if I needed anyone in a hurry, all I had to do was press it. Well, I did, two nurses and a doctor burst through the door. They breathlessly asked, “What’s the matter?”. I raised my finger, pointed to a black box just above the door and asked, “what is that for?” After being reassured that it was just a fuse box of some sort I went back to the business of the day, looking out of the window.

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