The planning for the day had to include a trip to a shop because Emily had unexpectedly gone all… y’know… female and… I think it’s something to do with the moon… I’m being a mumbling buffoon, I’ll cut myself short. We needed to get some tampons.
The nearest shop was up the coast in Paje so we set off north along the beach planning to reach the shops in an hour or so. At lunch time, half way in our minds, we stopped for a beer and found that in actual fact we were still about an hour and a half from Paje and should probably get a taxi. It was a good job we did because there was nothing left in the two shops in town. This left us having to explain our mission to the taxi driver which is an awkward enough conversation with a fluent English speaker. The conclusion was that our only real hope was to drive back across the island to the capital.
On the way I spotted one likely looking chemisty type place on the side of the road so jumped out to ask if they could help. I thought it would be quicker and safer if I went alone and so approached the lady at the counter armed with limited Swahili. We all know the international sign language for ‘can I have the bill please’ and ‘do you have a phone’ but picture if you will this idiot, blushing, stuttering and attempting the sign language for ‘do you have any feminine hygiene products’.
I repeated the Swahili for ‘month’ and ‘woman’ whilst pointing at what I wanted to convey as my lady parts. As I did so it occurred to me that in the climate of a devoutly religious place with a recent history of throwing acid in the faces of the disrespectful this might be poor form. I was pretty sure she had sort of understood what I’d asked for and didn't have any, so on we pressed before finding a shop that led to Emily squealing with joy and clutching a packet of tampons to her breast.
To celebrate the relief we took our taxi man for a couple of beers then returned to the East coast for a bloody pleasant dinner and a litre of wine.
N.B. Emily has read and approved (sort of) the publication of this post.