local literature?

This evening I went running through Dar es Salaam, Tanzania.  I brought 5,000 Tanzanian shillings (about $5) with me in case of emergency.  After about 20 minutes, I passed a table by the side of the road where a book peddler was packing up his wares.  I can never resist the pull of a pile of books, so I looked over the collection.  He had the usual fare: lots of outdated American textbooks, a couple of books by African writers, The Mystery of Atlantis.  I’ve always had trouble finding locally written literature in Tanzania, even in Swahili, although I have a few books in Swahili at home.

So I bought a copy of Studs Terkel’s weighty Working (oral histories of people about their jobs).  I enjoyed jogging home with the hefty volume in my hand, imagining fighting off muggers with Studs.

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