You’re back in town. Back to the blistering heat of Dar that forces even men to take a shower, not just once, but several times a day! Up there on the slopes where you went for your mandatory annual reunion festivities, bathing is optional. Hurrah!
As you “ate” the holiday in temperatures as low as 15 degrees Centigrade, clad in your old mtumba jacket that was of no use in Dar where 30C degrees are a normal thing—you felt you were in a totally different world.
Reaching Kwa Sami—your favourite watering hole—from the point where the road from your part of the village joins the main road, is a smooth walk, albeit dangerous. Smooth, because the main road that’s in the final stages of becoming fully tarmacked, is without the old potholes or muddiness. Maendeleo.
Dangerous, because like it’s the case in Dar, the bodaboda reigns supreme.
Taking advantage of the improved road, the motorbike taxi guys behave in the same lunatic ways of their counterparts in our major towns.
You actually consider it safer to hire one and give strict instructions that he handles the machine with extra care since “unaendesha mzee”, than walking the short distance to Kwa Sami.
The daladala drivers here are just as reckless, more so as they zoom past the busiest parts of the upgraded road. This is meant to impress…and damn the consequences!
You arrive at Kwa Sami where you find Uncle Kich already seated, enjoying his favourite brand while upcountry, Kibo lager. Even before you’re fully seated, he orders the waitress (call her Ziada) to give you two Serengeti Lites. You aren’t suggesting Uncle is stingy, but he’s normally not one to give anyone two at a go just like that!
Soon, three other clansmen, Esaya, Tyson and Thele (Sele, while in Dar) join you and Ziada comes to listen to them.
“Welcome guys… get seated,” says Uncle Kich, who is behaving like he’s the grocery manager while we all know he’s not.
Esaya orders a big Serengeti and Tyson, a Serengeti Lite. Thele asks for a small Safari.
In due course, everybody gets a drink, including Ziada who, from what you know, doesn’t drink, but who, all the same, says she’ll take a Saint Anna, a brand that makes the buyer Sh12,000 poorer.
Close to 1am, we unanimously agree we should leave. Even people who are on holiday need to go to bed before daybreak, right?
Someone shouts to Ziada for the bills and in no time, this sharp village grocery waitress is back with several pieces of paper—the bills.
Everybody looks at his and nods, including Uncle Kich whose bill includes Ziada’s costly wine—which she’ll drink later. Ahem!
As each of us reaches for his wallet, Uncle puts up his hand, the gesture of a perfect gentleman, and says: “Guys, let me have the bills, I’m settling everything.”
Unbelievable, maybe, but we soon learn the old geezer has some ideas about Ziada, ideas whose details we won’t reveal here, of course.