Our challenged infrastructure is, as usual, thoroughly overwhelmed thanks to the on-going rains.
Just the other day in our neighbourhood, we had a mammoth task of clearing the cattle track we call road after it was blocked by logs and tree branches brought by floods originating from God-knows-where!
We’re at Forest Bar, and Uncle Kich, the ex-schoolmaster, whose Geography knowledge is so great he can draw the world weather map with his eyes closed, educates us that Bongo is experiencing the remnants of Cyclone Kenneth.
“Cyclone Kenneth hit most of Mozambique, flattening entire villages and killing dozens of people in its wake!” he says and proceeds to tell us why cyclones are named after people.
“That gives them a human face,” he says, “the names make it easy for us to discuss them… in any case human beings can be cruel too, robbing, abducting and even killing fellow humans and such other bad things,” says Uncle Kich to his attentive listeners who reward his intellectual prowess with free beers.
It’s already evening, a wet evening. Everybody seems to be receiving calls, mostly from buddies wanting to know where they are and how the rain is treating them.
Esaya is talking to Jerry, a fellow hustler in the real estate sector.
He’s into his naughty habit of putting on his handset’s speaker so that we all can hear what Jerry is saying from the other end.
Esaya: We’re at Forest, where are you?
Jerry: Not very far from where you guys are, expect me there soon.
Esaya: Where are you, precisely?
Jerry: I’m only in Gongo la Mboto, I’ll join you anytime from now… actually, you can each have one-one from me, I’ll pay when I arrive.
Esaya: Mind you, there are five of us here!
Jerry: You know me; bro; even if you take two-two, it’ll be okay.
That’s Jerry for you; a man of impossible pledges. If it weren’t for his Christian upbringing, he could have made a very successful politician.
You see, Gongo la Mboto is about 100km from where your gang is having beer and it’s now well past 9pm!
None of us takes his offer seriously, of course, much as we all know he can be quite liberal with his cash—whenever he’s available.
We’re all aware many of Dar’s roads have been rendered impassable; even the sophisticated mwendo-kasi (BRT) system has collapsed in numerous sections.
We receive a call, or rather, Esaya receives a call—from Jerry—at minutes to 11pm. As usual, the call is broadcast by the notorious Esaya.
We can hear him say he’s so sorry he can’t make it to Forest.
“I got stuck in a wet, slippery jam…hundreds of us are now driving in reverse, maybe for 5km, after which we can divert to a passable road,” he says, adding that he can’t even tell at what point of Kawawa Road he is!
“Please settle my bill; Bro; I’ll sort you out tomorrow, for I’ll surely be there,” he tells Esaya.