Finding the right souvenir

By: Denzil and Jennie Verardo
This item appears on page 49 of the June 2018 issue.

This month, the winners are DENZIL and JENNIE VERARDO of Elk Grove, California:

In October 2017, we went on an Adventures Abroad safari-tour to Tanzania to see the spectacular wildlife within its national parks. In our trip preparations, we had read an article in the Los Angeles Times on the Tinga Tinga folk art painting style developed in the late 20th century by the Tanzanian artist Edward Tingatinga. He is no longer alive, but his style is being emulated by young artists in East Africa. We felt that a piece by him would be a unique souvenir and a nice addition to our home.

While our guide was exceptional in his wildlife knowledge, he was not really into regional art. When we asked if he would let us know where we could stop to purchase a Tinga Tinga, he was truly puzzled about why we wanted to purchase one in Tanzania. He also said that it would be very expensive and that the shipping might not be possible. 

We said that we hoped a copy might not be as costly and said that we would just roll it up, put it in a tube and take it back, ourselves. 

He quizzically asked us what we thought a Tinga Tinga was. We showed him the Times article and he began to laugh, so we asked what was so funny. 

He explained that in Swahili, tingatinga means “tractor” or “bulldozer”!

He did take us to an area in Zanzibar with numerous artists’ shops, where we purchased a Tinga Tinga art piece. The artist rolled up our purchase and we easily carried it home.


 

Tell us about the funniest thing that happened to you while traveling in a foreign country. (ITN prints no info on destinations in the United States.) There are no restrictions on length. ITN staff will choose each month’s winner, who will receive a free one-year subscription to ITN. Include your full mailing address. Entries not chosen cannot be acknowledged.