She was walking slowly through the entrance of one of the newest buildings in town. I barely took notice of her at first, then the tapping of her guide stick aroused me. She started calling soflty, “sabuni! sabuni!”
She tapped her way around the rails that guard the centre of the hallway. A banner stood in her way, she went around it.
I was with my friend Ark with whom I had been going to a pharmacy. I was there only physically, stealing obvious glances at the woman through the large glass doors. She seemed to be in her early fifties.
The pharmacist watched me watching her, barely looking at the dosage she was prescribing.
I deserted my company to approach the woman.
“Unauzaje?” I asked.
“Kuna ya sh.60 na ya sh.90”
I asked to view the soap. I didn’t care what type or quality they would be. I wanted to buy. As she lowered her black leather bag to feel into it, I appreciated that despite her disability she chose to work hard for her money. She was nowhere seated begging.
She brought out a bottle of turquoise soap. I had expected solid soap. The last time I bought home-made liquid soap 12 years ago it turned out to be harsh on my hands. Nonetheless, I didn’t care. I wanted to buy. That she makes them herself amazed me further.
She gave me the first bottle and told me the price. I gave her a note. She felt it, determined its value and reached into her clear paper bag for the balance. She palpated the edges of her coins, picked the one she needed and gave me. I was amused by the transaction and her skill. I wanted to know more about her, but I felt within me that this was not the day to ask her questions about herself.
I leaped back to the pharmacy. The joy in my face explained everything, I didn’t have to narrate anything. From there homeward, I carried that soap plainly in my arm. You should have seen me! I wore it like it was the new fashion trend. I myself had a top and nail polish that blended with the liquid. I didn’t care. No one could tell me anything, you know.
At home, I tried to figure out how I would use it. Then my handwash bottle sitting empty in the bathroom gave me a eureka moment. I recalled how early this week I had spent over 20 minutes at the soaps isle in the supermarket debating whether to pick lavender or bubble gum. I was so confused, drove Ark crazy by my indecision that I failed to pick any.
Now I had a scent I loved but whose name i didn’t know… Soap cheaper than what I would have bought at the store… I sampled it, it was smooth. Not at all harsh, as other home made soaps had made me believe they usually are… Bringing more satisfaction than any soap ever has… The fruit of hard work.
Today, I bought turquoise soap from a blind woman.