This is Jamie! So… we had some furniture that we bought 2 years ago from some colleagues that were leaving Tanzania and it has been in storage in Mbeya for 2 years. Needless to say, they became great homes for rats. So, the need for reupholstering became evident when we moved our stuff from where it was being stored, to a friends garage to make it easier when we finally pack it on a truck for Mpanda.
The first thing I had to do was find a reputable reupholsturer. The first guy I tried calling was out of town. So then I had a friend contacted another guy who met me at the garage where the stuff was being stored. We decided on a price for the labor and then he went with me to a shop in Mwanjelwa where I could pick out some cloth. If you don’t know much about Tanzanian furniture, they tend to like it bright. Like as in the brighter the better in good Baliwood style. Wow!! The colors we saw, I lowered my standards of finding I style I loved to finding one I didn’t hate.
The first thing we had to pick out was cloth for the couch, love seat, and 2 chairs. First I picked out some striped material in earth tones. He said it was bad quality and would rip easily along the stripes. And then I started having doubts about stripes, what if he put the stripes on crooked and then for years I had to look at furniture with crooked stripes, THAT would be torture. He then suggested a material of the best quality which was a very bright blue velvet with flower pattern, ugggh!! I said, as nicely as possible, “lakini rangi..” (but the color). Then I picked out a different one, and he thought it was bad quality and showed me another high quality, bright red velvet. ”lakini rangi” was muttered once again.
The next thing we had to pick out was to replace the upholstery on the 8 dining room chairs. They all had little bites taken out of them here and there. We decided to go with the fake plether of the better quality because it doesn’t dry out and crack supposedly which is likely to happen in hot and dry Mpanda. I also decided that our family is waaaaay too messy at mealtime to keep the lovely red velvet that was already on the chairs This is how the chairs turned out.
I guess the funniest part was that I was worried that there was possibly mice dead inside the couches. The fundi assured Jer he didn’t find any but that he found tons of women’s feminine products that they had drug in there to make their nest…then there was an awkward laugh shared between the two.