“Hey bro, vipi? How much for these shoes?” I ask the second-hand market vendor.
“Ah! Those, for you, those are $30 U.S.dollars,” he responds with a tone indicating that he’s giving me a deal. He didn’t know I was Tanzanian, maybe because I hadn’t yet spoken more than a few words in Kiswahili. Words that any foreigner who cared to find out would have known.
“$30?! I can get a new pair of shoes in the U.S. for that amount!” I say in return, flabbergasted by the price this man just gave me.
After a few minutes of haggling, going back and forth about the quality of the shoes, and his realization of my nationality, we do not close the sale of these shoes, but commence having a very important conversation about the poverty of Africa.
I will call this man Peter, as I do not recall his name.
As I talked down the price of the shoes, Peter said things like, “You people have money!” and “Come on, you can pay this amount easily.”
When Peter and I started talking (immediately after I decided not to purchase the shoes), I asked him his reasons behind hiking prices up so high for foreigners. He simply said, “Because we are poor here in Tanzania, and in Africa, so I have to try to earn money some way, and you guests have the money.” (more…)