Name ID 1600
Read, David Beating about the Bush
Page Number: 029
Extract Date: 1938 Easter
Babati was known in those days for its one and only shop. owned by Shere Mohammed, which sold everything one could possibly need, including rare luxuries such as tinned food and whiskey, and was a regular stopping place between Arusha and Dodoma. It has also become well known through the fame of its beautiful women, the Wafiomi, who are an offshoot of the Hamitic Wambulu tribe. These women carry a reputation throughout East Africa for their grace and beauty and have the added bonus of retaining their looks and figures to a ripe old age. Several wealthy and, in some cases, titled European men, out in Africa on hunting safaris, saw, tried and liked the area and its people and bought farms in the vicinity. They built good houses, laid out colourful gardens and spent the winter months there, sometimes bringing with them their girifriends from Europe and sometimes befriending the local Ufiomi girls.
The shop had been opened initially to serve these people and it traded well for many years, slowly building on its reputation as hunting safaris and travellers began to pass through the area. It was a godsend to other travellers such as ourselves and we were able to stock up with a few choice items to relieve our drearycooking. At the end of ten days we had walked many miles, seen a great deal of game and enjoyed ourselves immensely - with the exception of the food. Dickie when asked, said he thought it had been all right, but the rest of us hungered for a decent, well-cooked school meal.