July 18, 2011

Naming of Things.

In Tanzania, the naming of things is an art form. And therein lies the joy of a Tanzanian road trip.

We started a list of dala-dala (minibus), bajaj and truck names a while back and on our recent road trip out west we passed the time with a renewed interest in on-the-road entertainment in the form bus and truck names.

Some of the names could be better classified as allegiance pronouncements which center largely around religion and football and tend to be quite straightforward: Manchester United, Barcelona, Islam, Jesus, and many variations therein.

Philosophical naming conventions can make you look and think twice, or at times elucidate a very fundamentally different worldview in this part of the world: Born to Suffer, God is SO good, !2nd chance!, no gain without pains. 

And other names can just be downright hilarious, if not, perplexing: bankito, Grace & Vincent, Blue Horse, goodfellaz, Uprising, Allocation, Don't Panic: Message Sent, Double 'D', Mr. Promise, The Expendable's Full Respect, The Top Judge, Coaster for All of the Nations, AMBUSH, Doctor Bush, Castaway, Liver Pool, King Perfect, Black People, Logistika, Power (of) God, Bananaland, V.I.P. Class, B. Positive (wait, is that a blood type allegiance or a philosophical pronouncement?!).

Incidentally, this is something that Sarah Markes captures well in her Dar street level sketches. And her new book certainly did not disappoint! In fact, we have become not only proud owners of her new book, but also of two original street level sketches capturing the hilarity of naming of transportation modes.

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