On Tuesday, 7th July we witnessed the peak of the Saba Saba festivities. I never go to the Dar es Salaam International Trade Fair, these days. I regard that as fun for kids or masochists – guys who like pain. Or guys who want to flog off junk, mostly plastics. That is in the midst of a now common dust wave you get there. And the noise. The place is so loud you couldn’t hear a jet plane land there.
The venue was called ‘Saba Saba Grounds’ when we were little. It was hell, but we thought it was the best thing since sliced bread. Dust, greasy chips and iced-cream, if you had the money. Then, if you had to wee you just found a corner and let loose. If you had to do the big jobs then you had to run to school. My school was nearby.
Today I can’t find a corner to do a wee, it will cause a small riot. For a middle-aged man to be found ‘watering the gardens’ at the DITF, it is simply unacceptable.
But I visited the place anyway toilets or not. Dust wave or not. Parking or not. Why? You see I am about to go into animal husbandry. I plan to raise some delicacies in the form of some rodents to grace my patch of land.
You see the Sokoine University of Agriculture (SUA) in Moro town has started a new project to raise giant rodents as a new source of protein for consumption in the country.
I have already registered my business to be called ‘Rat Inn’ which will serve culinary delights done in different styles of cooking in the world. I hear the rat, locally called Ndezi, can tickle many a palate in Tanzania.
SUA officials have said the Ndezi is so cheap to raise. You just get a male rat and his chick, put them in a box and forget about them for three months. You might find a battalion of Ndezis waiting for you - ready to eat.
Another good thing about the Ndezi is that they don’t have boring things, like family planning, in their programmes. They just eat grass and go for each other like there is no tomorrow. After a year I will be ready to launch the Rat Inn.
A sampling of the menu at the Rat Inn; Succulent pieces of protein rich steaks marinated in tamarind sauce and Mbeya fries.
OR, I could go Indian. How about Tandoori rat steaks grilled on hot coals served with garlic naan. That will be an Indian delight. Or, rat kebab sizzling in makhanwala sauce. How about – tikka rat mushkaki and some chapati? Or kadai rat steaks served with Kyela fried rice. These should appropriately be served with dry red wine.
Or, my place could do Chinese. How about sweet and sour rat legs in soy sauce and noodles. Or rat’s whiskers in dong-feng sauce for a stater.
Local dishes will be something like, Ugali na ndezi wa kupaka (coconut milk sauce) washed down with chilled Tanzanian beer. You warn your clients that they have to wait a few minutes for the Ugali to be done.
But if you are in a hurry you could get a quick Rat Pizza and a milk shake to tickle the stomach. I definitely will get in touch with the ‘rat pack’ fellows from SUA, sometimes next week. People have been yawning with hunger while there is an abundant supply of protein delicacies just around the corner. That is just scandalous! Everyone will be welcomed to the Rat Inn!
It will be a gender sensitive set-up. Men will be served with male rats while chicks will be offered female rats. This will be in line with the country’s policy of equality for all sexes.