Monday 19 July 2010
From then on he became known by the nickname "Sigara Mtoto" (cigarette boy) and has shown himself to be a hard worker -- in school and out. Like all of life's survivors he knows how to tag onto groups and make himself useful. He helps out in the kitchen when I am in Zanzibar. At the bottom of the pecking order with all the maestro chefs, he's the one that gets sent into the village on errands or up the palm tree for coconuts. Where he really comes into his own is in eating. He appears to eat his bodyweight in rice at each sitting and always manages more meat and vegetables than grown men several times his size. Because he's still quite small for his age I give him extra protein on top, so he'll often polish off his feast with eggs and peanut butter. Now at the age of eighteen he is beginning his growth spurt and going up, as they say locally, "like a coconut palm ".
He tells me that he wants to go to catering college next. Cheffing is a good transferable skill which will give him a better chance of an income than many other things. I still harbour a hope that he does a bit more at school, maybe even giving secondary a try.
In the meantime he loves dancing to Zanzbar's very own Freddy Mercury and watching Little Britain and Eddie Murphy's Nutty Professor on DVDs.