Although my pockets were in the red I looked at his unhappy face and pulled out a Sh1,000 note.
I was with an old friend of mine who is a fisherman . We sat sipping our drinks quietly at our local pub the other day.
He asked if I was in position to offer him another drink. Although my pockets were in the red I looked at his unhappy face and pulled out a Sh1,000 note.
“That is all I can afford to offer you today,” I said skeptically as I handed the note to him.
His face brightened a little as he took the note and tacked quickly it in his shirt pocket.
He went on sitting without ordering anything. I knew there would be other uses for the money other than the drink he had asked for. That didn’t concern me.
From where we sat I would see the place had changed a lot since the days when we played on the lake’s beach yonder; on the right of the Fish market from where we sat .
As boys I used to swim and fish in the black-grayish fresh waters of Lake Victoria right in front of us.
The vegetation, the white sands and the numerous birds had disappeared from the beaches. They had been replaced by all sorts of shacks and shanties of petty businesses. Only flocks of marabous scavenged the dirty surroundings.
A newly created garbage dump nearby seems to make it even more conducive for the rummage.
Garbage is dumped just a few meters from the lake shores. The birds might be having a great time but how much is the black-milky liquid oozing from the dump to the lake waters below polluting?
But who cares anyway, we all have work to do.
No wonder there are no longer men with fishing rods dotting the beach rocks at this time of the day as it used to be back then.
Actually I noted the number of rocks sticking out water has increased as the water levels have shrunk exposing new rocks once covered by water.
My friend the fisherman must have seen my look of concern and read my mind.
He said to me, “Things have changed man. This lake is dying and nobody is giving a damn. Just look, would anybody in his right senses put that garbage dump on the lake shore?”
He posed, and then went on, “Fish have disappeared along the shores. It’s not possible to survive as a small fisherman these days. The waters are just empty.”
Then he leaned forward, and sad in a low tone like a person who did not wish to be over heard.
“Areas that still have some fish are held by the Lake Mafia groups. They are well armed. They kidnapper fishermen who dare trespass their waters. They torture, imprison and even carry out extra judicial executions,” he said.
He stopped talking as we looked at the barmaid who was coming towards where we sat. She had this small figure in a tight jeans trouser that showed her round hips bulging form her slim waist like two semi circles.
She wore a pink long sleeve blouse; her hair was obviously a wig with shiny black feathered hair. The hair was long on both sides covering her ears down to her shoulders.
“Would you like another drink?” she asked. I said, No. Then she asked me to pay for the drinks she had served me earlier.
I usually don’t carry any money in my wallet so I checked trousers pockets for the note I thought I had. Checked the front right pocket, it was not there, the front left not there also, back right empty, back left nothing!
“Lipa bwana!” she said impatiently. “My salary is not going to be deducted because of your drunkenness.”
“I think I left the note in….my …” before I could finish explaining she had jumped and caught me by the collar.
What followed is not easy to narrate. It’s best if I left it untold. However I did learn something extremely important, ‘check your pocket before order anything at a pub’.