Rachael and Nora had known each other since the time when they both had been involved in petty-trade, commuting between Arusha town and the Kenyan border in the late 1970s and early 1980s. When Nora introduced me to Rachael in 1991, Rachael was 34 years of age, and had become a relatively well-established shop owner. Her shop was close to the market at Tengeru, a rapidly growing small­town about seven km east of Arusha town and situated along the Arusha-Moshi main road. She had given birth to nine children, with four different men, but two died in early infancy. While Rachael lived in the poorly equipped backroom of her shop, all her children stayed with Rachael’s (paternal) grandmother, less than two kilometres from Tengeru.

Unlike Nora, Rachael had the opportunity to pursue her education, but ac­cording to her she was not interested. Instead, Rachael ran off from home for the town, because “I did not want to live like my mother. My father has ruined her life.” Hence, while Rachael was still doing her second year in secondary school, she escaped to Dar-es-Salaam and when she later that year became pregnant with a Pare man, they ‘married’ (i. e. cohabited). Hardly two years later, she left her ‘husband’ because she felt restricted by him, and along with her child she returned to her parents. For a short period of time she was employed as an office assistant at Tengeru, but owing to a very meagre salary, she decided to move to Arusha town and to earn a living by brewing and selling beer. She left her child in her grandmother’s care.