28 Sep 2011

Conversations With My Tummy


I really want to type, and dispel the gloom of yesterday's post. This for some reason a lot of people found creepy.
Lord knows why because whilst I was writing I took a minute to read what I had put on paper and actually smiled. Yes I did. So imagine my surprise when someone took the time to email me and tell me how disturbed they had been by my blog. Oh well win some you lose some, I always say.

Ok I never say that.

So my stomach is grumbling and I am starting to see things. Little gnomes dancing on tables, and wait are there two of him, really? Twins? Somewhere in the hunger induced fog of my brain I know that there is only one of him.

I think.

Would you believe that I can actually taste my insides? Maybe my stomach is eating away at my intestines. Imagine that? Eating away at yourself, and then when you eat something ,because you don't have a gut to hold it in, all of it settles in your feet.

Neat take on what you eating going straight to your feet hey?

Like a bad episode of Spongebob.
Who am I kidding?

Show me one bad episode of SpongeBob and I will give you MJ.


2HOURS LATER


Still no food and I have been having conversations with my stomach, which were eerily similar to those I have with my feet, just in reverse;

"Looks like I am not getting any food today huh?"

'Mmmmm you may be right about that'

'What’s that supposed to mean? Don’t you think you should be looking for some place to buy food'

'Well I already know a place; I just don't have the strength'

'If you had gone sooner then you wouldn’t be complaining about strength'

'Mmmmm you're probably right.'

'Stop that!'

'What?'

What I do not get is why my stomach was getting exasperated. After all it was the one doing the grumbling, not me.Anyway, I thought that was that when with a burp, yes a burp it continued,

'You know you really are quite selfish.'

Nothing new there, my daddy always said I was. So I kept quiet.

'You would sit there and do nothing when I am this close to developing ulcers.'

'Fine, I’ll go drink water, which should fill you up.'

'Don’t you, you wouldn't. Vulnavia sit down, where on, oh leave that, drop it this instance.'

I’d had enough. All that growling and complaining. It’s like men are always saying...'women just don't know when to shut up.'

I hope I get food soon though. My muscles are starting to tic, and I am starting to taste my insides again plus those little gnomes are back, this time they’ve brought fairies and pixies with them.

27 Sep 2011

I Have Seen The Future


 
I have seen the future.
 We are faster, faster than pain
We are a nerve ending without a brain
we have evolved; we have no feeling at all
It is a brave new world.

Ok maybe not really but I have an idea of what will be going through my mind if I die from a car accident. Understand that these thoughts are based on what I was I thinking every time I almost had an accident. They provide a brief insight into how my scatological mind will become still and focused.

Notice that I have changed the meaning of the word to suit my mood, in this illustration it means scattered as those of you who do not know the original meaning may have surmised.

So anyway, I have had three almost accidents, the first time was when the car I was in went off road, and I said to myself, “Oh dear” and that was my only reaction. The driver merely woke up and corrected the car.

He had fallen asleep at the wheel.              

The second time was in that vehicle that has provided me with so many blog anecdotes.

The Kombi.   
  
I remember the car coming from the opposite direction weaving in and out of it’s lanes. Drunk the driver probably was. Lucky for us our driver called upon years of experience (or maybe months you never know with these people), he called upon everything he had learnt from dodging police roadblocks, illegally weaving through traffic, and driving through potholes, and by a whisker managed to avoid being hit by the mad man in the truck.

I am convinced it was a man, Zimbabwean women are much more careful and I am yet to meet a female drunken driver in this our Banana Republic (pun intended, *salutes Sodhindo Banana*).
 
Whilst all this was happening, and yes the women screamed and the men bellowed, I was thinking,

“Well look at that.”

And that again was the extent of my reaction.

The third one involved my dad, and it left me feeling very impressed. Michael Schumacher had nothing on my dad.
I will never be sure why I was so impressed because I was 12years old. If apply my amateur rearmchair psychology I would say, the prospect of death on that night did not seem to impress me. My Daddy did.

Back to what I will be thinking if I die in an automobile accident;

“Well look at that, a car coming towards me,
I doubt it will stop in time,
Oh wait it’s spinning now,
Jumping turning spinning,
It’s slowed, it is here,
I did see the future.”

At this point the car will ram into my car and death will be upon me. My last thoughts calm and collected, no panic. Just acceptance.

Raise your glass in salutation
We’ll drink to our annihilation
    was and will just make me ill
    It is the death of the earth me.

22 Sep 2011

My Aunt Can Yell Louder Than Your Aunt


My pint sized aunt finally gave birth. I have to tell you there was a time i thought her tummy was going to rip open.

It looked so big; she was surprisingly nonplussed whilst the rest of us vicariously became her worried husbands. Since the culprit in question is safely cocooned in the backwoods of Zambia.


I wanted her to give birth on my birthday.
She missed it.
She gave birth a week later.
I missed it.

Which is no cause for tears, i was glad.

The last time i was around when she gave birth was just plain awful. For one, she went into labour in the morning, dreadful for her husband, who was around at the time. I daresay the experiences of that day drove him away. The poor man was slapped bitten and even had a clay mug hurled at him, lucky for his eye it missed. 

It’s safe to conclude that his trip to Zambia was contrived. 
(There Mr. Mr. i said it you can come back now).

He escaped the horrors of her labour by going to work.
I was there for it all


At the time she lived in Kuwadzana, in those houses where the sink is outside and you have to out to do the dishes, as i was when this began. The houses are so close together you can literary reach out and touch the house next door.

In between her and her neighbour's house was a little path every Tom, Dick and Harry used to go to and from the main road.the house had a small fence on one side and a brick wall on the other. This mismatch was due to the landlord's aborted renovation attempts, which i thought was quite dreadful.

The wall was poorly plastered and it's surface uneven, in some parts bits of it had broken off and lay strewn all over the yard (the African wind is strong).

I digress.

Now, it so happened that when she really went into labour, she didn't bother to tell me. Although i suspect she may have tried to beam it into my head for when she had walked a little way off, remember i was by the sink, and to getto that little path i described you had to go around the house.

That’s what she had done. so when she was a little way off, it may have occurred to her that whatever message she had beamed had not been conveyed so in a high pitched grunt, which was hardly audible (yes i know, such a sound is physiologically impossible, but she did it anyway)



"What are you waiting for? Go and get my bag.”

Now to be honest it never occurred to me, that she was in labour, so quite innocently i asked,

"What bag?"

Basically what followed was her telling me that i was good for nothing, stupid, retarded and idiotic. After at least 30 seconds (which is really quite a long time, when someone is yelling at you in public-remember, every Tom, Dick and Harry used the path) she told me what it was for and where i was supposed to take it.

That’s right to the clinic, situated 100 metres away.








When i finally caught up with her, the poor dear was lying prone on a hard plastic bed -you would think that arriving babies would get a five star reception, they don't.

So there she was half sitting, half lying with her legs open wide. And a nurse hovering above her shaking and nodding her head as if in conversation with the baby.

She looked up and saw me (my aunt), "where's my sadza?" she hissed.
What sadza, she'd just told me to bring the bag. So before she could curse any further, as she was at that moment, i left.

Thirty minutes later i walked into the room with a bowl of sadza, which i had cooked from scratch. 

And so it began,

"It’s too cold, how dare you,"
I went to reheat it.
"Where’s my coke?" what coke?
I went to buy one.
"I said Fanta, why are you so stupid? You never listen!" she hadn't 
I went and got one,

Until finally the nurse said i wasn't allowed in the labour room anymore, because i was bad for the baby.

Me?

And not her?

I was glad though to be locked out. To leave her to her heaves, contractions and a v-jay that was taking too long to open.

I was glad now as i am now, grateful to have missed it.

P said this birth was peaceful and uneventful, so maybe i really am bad for the baby. And after seeing Ryan i know now why my aunt looked like her tummy was going to rip open.



Ryan (2days old)
he really is quite big.

21 Sep 2011

Excerpt From My Unfinished, Untitled Might Not Be Finished Story


It's a bit too long for me to be putting on blogger, but well I got bored with seeing it on my screen and decided to post anyway. I don't think much of it. But I figured if I practised maybe one day I could become really, truly good at this fiction stuff.

20 Sep 2011

I Can't Believe She Peed In My Dining Room!


My family is messed up, so messed up the very thought of it sends me into fits and stutters, they are just plain embarrassing. Or maybe the word for it is uncouth.



I don’t mean the immediate, I mean the others.



So I thank God every time a holiday comes and goes and I don't see hide nor hair of the fat ones, the skinny ones, the tall ones, the short ones, the dark ones, the light ones all of them.


I strongly suspect though, that my please-do-not-come-again vibe has something to do with it because quite frankly everything I do for them is punctuated by please-do-not-come-again. Because Zimbabweans, Africans, we black people are wont to go holiday in other people’s homes

We show up unannounced, lugging great big suitcases and in some cases, like this tall dark skinny one did, we even bring dirty laundry. To a house, by a house I mean my house, that doesn't have a maid where city council water shyly drips out of the taps after midnight, and the house is run on a tight budget.


She stayed for two weeks.


African hospitality (our greatest folly), where mama makes me to scrub for them, beg them to come and eat, ask them if they would like a cup of tea with that, no? Water perhaps? Or perhaps a glass of her cherished Mazoe Orange Juice which she keeps hidden at the back of her wardrobe (mind you she doesn't know I know, but I know).

All this for a non-paying visitor who's come to the city for her yearly fattening up before the ploughing season starts. To be fair however they usually bring with them a pumpkin or two and a sack full of peanuts, which I used to help mama shell, but now I refuse outright.

I remember once when I had just discovered the joys of DSTV sleeping in the wee hours of the morning watching programme after programme, Lord forbid that I miss out on anything. Until I discovered that every programme was rebroadcast at least 4 times a month.

Before I made this life altering, sleep inducing discovery something quite repulsive happened.

Who should show up at my doorstep, but some obscure 3 times removed aunt. She was sick and had come to the city for treatment. None too pleased I ushered her in and began the welcome rituals, which thank God did not include,

"How are your cattle?"

"I hope your chickens are fine," 


But did include;

"Have you started ploughing?"

And a politely phrased version of 

"How is that sickly child, the one your errant daughter saddled you with?"


Having plonked herself on the carpet she declared that she would spend the night on it. And so instead of spending the night in the single bed I would have forfeited for her, she would sleep amongst the chairs in the dining room. 

This is just a portion of a great big room compartmentalised into a dining and sitting room area.

She had one request though.

"I sometimes need to wake up and vomit, and I am not as fast as I used to be, so get me a container to could use."

Simple enough, I got her the bowl we used to use for the dog.

Five minutes later she was in bed/on carpet, and snoring. I was settled by the telly. And that was that.
Until it came, the sound of liquid pouring into a plastic container. A dripping sound, on and on it went, until with a

Drip,
Drip,
Drip, 

It stopped. My nose strained trying to catch a whiff of it in the air. Surely vomit wasn’t like that. And then she confirmed it, what I didn't want to hear,

"Oh you are still up?"

I was.

"Yeah," she continued, “just taking a leak."

In our dining area, where I eat.

She peed in a container, when she could have summoned her last reserves of strength in those disease riddled bones to get up and go to the toilet. 

Hai Mwari wangu, ndousvina kauyu!

So pardon me if you come to my house and I slam the door in your face. I don't care how many times removed you are, please-just-don't-come!

19 Sep 2011

The Moniker Of The Racist Man Who Borrowed $5 And Tried To Make It $10



I spent a great deal of time nibbling on what’s left of my pen trying to come up with the perfect moniker for my blog.

The Kombi Chronicles, no, too confining, I would have to stick to writing about my daily bus rides. This would prove very difficult because sometimes I am lucky enough to get a ride in a car. Why just the other day I was in a taxi, paid $8.00 for it. Quite a lot for a girl who complains about a $1.00 innit?

The Life and Times of V, a bit childish, well that’s because I got it from The Life and Times of Juniper Lee that fabled children’s classic. I like it. And that’s why I dropped it. Something that fantastic is bound to get boring after a time.

 These two titles popped into my head, in rapid fire succession and then after that which is now...absolutely nothing. Not so much as a squeak from that brain of mine which never seems to run out of thoughts. Oh well I’m sure someone else will come up with something. And when that happens I will pounce, beat the living daylights out of them and steal their idea. Oh and don't forget to imagine me running off whilst cackling like ummmm some really evil dude.

N sent me a text just now, complaining about some guy called Anthony who thinks black people are idiots (he is white), oh and he seems to always qualify that by adding I am not racist. A bit racist I think to be adding that after every sentence, no wonder black people don't like white folk (that’s racist), but still go around calling them boss, madam. I bet you if one of them called black people kaffirs at least one of them would say, "Yes bas" and walk away because he added "I am not racist."

I loaned one of my co-workers money some time ago $5 bucks it was, I didn't want to. But he said it was an investment, a good one at that. I said no, he said please, I said no, he got down on one knee, I told him I didn't have, and he knew I did. So because I think highly of my pocket I handed it to him with a smile and a smirk. I smiled because he said,
"Thanks V will pay you back next week, I’ll even double it"
That was the investment part.
That was a month ago.
Now every time I see him we have the same conversation about the 5-dollar-note-that-became-ten. I say hi, he looks away, I say hi again. He eventually says hi back, and then I ask him where the money is. He asks me what money? Ok. I stop surprised, but I recover quickly and remind him about the magic fiver I gave him. At this point he introduces one of his dead relatives, I am waiting for him to start killing off his pets and livestock.
"My goat died I had to bury it...sorry."
"See I have this cow, and the other day..."
"My dog has the most terrible cough..."

It is only prudent that I write this 5 off, to think I’d even begun to think of it as a ten... hanging my head in shame I walk off. Well not really, I’m still sitting here, so imagine I am.


Oh before i completely fade from that imaginary walking away, I have to tell you something very important I learnt today. Some of you maybe thinking that threatening your partner is warped, but let's keep it real and admit that human relationships tend to be warped already so whilst you spend money and attention on them. Throw in the fist or two or three or four. Kick butt!








18 Sep 2011

The Write Stuff!



N asked me the other day why it is that I never write fiction,
“I write best about the things I know,” I said to her.
Although this is true, it is not the entire truth, but I left it at that.
“You should try writing fiction,” L said to me the other day. Hearing this in a space of two days got me thinking as to why I never tried.
“I don’t lie well,” “I just can’t.”
“It’s not about lying it’s about your imagination,’

Funny how this never occurred to me but I got to think about it. One thing I am very good at is blabbing about nothing, going on and on and not saying anything.
So I started a fresh page on my laptop and began, in jumps and starts and full stops and commas, I started this story about nothing. I do not know if it is very good. I am just going where each word takes me. The ands, wes and therefores take me to a new sentence. I do not think I would work well with a plot. Not that I cannot follow rules but that would mean being stuck sooner.
 I have written two pages, I hope I will not suffer from writer’s block, I hope I  finish what I started or at least give my character a name.
When that happens and if ever I feel ok about the story, I will post it. Until then, wish me luck!

People from Masvingo Are Slow And Naive

People in Masvingo are slow and naive. Slow because no one seems to be in a hurry, and it seems that time for them has been set on slow. I looked at this perhaps like a frustrated hummingbird looking on the rest of the world. Even the wind seemed in on it, Blowing somewhat hesitantly against my face. Lifting my hair tentatively and then leaving it, done for the day i suppose.

Naive because perhaps they trust too much, in Harare everyone is wary and on constant guard, your own neighbour could steal from you. Their naïveté doesn’t end there, it is made worse by an annoying familiarity sure to grate on the nerves of the most patient soul.

“Hold my bag,” who gives a stranger their handbag to hold? I took the handbag and held it at arm’s length. I did this for my own good. If anything went missing nobody would accuse me of any wrong doing, my eyes are shifty and my face mobile, nobody would believe that i hadn’t done it.

“Make sure my maputi’s don’t fall, in fact please can you put them right in front of you," said the driver, proceeding to the driver’s seat. So there i was stuck in between packs of maputi and a box load of bread that i also had to watch, did i mention that i was in the back seat of an open truck? Well i was.

An old woman with a baby on her lap, lay with her head resting against a sack full of sugar, her handbag cast carelessly at her feet another one of small town idiosyncrasies that i just could not understand.

I sincerely hoped the baby was her grandchild because, it didn’t seem right to me that a woman her age would still be birthing.
Tired of prodding a non-responsive grandma turned her attention to me. More precisely she turned her attention to the chain around my neck. Noticing this, the man sitting beside me offered it oh so kindly to the child, with a blatant disregarded to how I the owner felt.

“Here baby, you want it? Come and get it.”

With that the child made a grab for it. Unashamedly i swatted her hands away, and told the man beside me that she was more likely to eat it than play with it, and no way was i going to wear a necklace covered in baby dribble.
No doubt, it would have helped the child’s case if she had been cuter and cleaner.
Thankfully any further exchange between the man, the baby and me was stopped by the bakkie pulling up at my stop, and i heaved myself out. Glad to be away from that bunch of communal people.

Just as i was getting off the bakkie, the little man sitting beside me, called out, “when are you going back to town” i did not answer but instead turned away in a huff my handbag clutched safely to my chest.
In hindsight, i daresay i made quite a sight, trudging through the dust with plumes of white dirt billowing around me and a non-characteristic frown on my face i began my ten minute traipse to my destination.

“Let me walk with you,”

that familiarity again and before i could say mhaiwe, that girl with the handbag had caught up with me. These people are relentless! I didn’t say that though, i smiled and said ok. I was determined however not to say a word to her, she had other ideas.

“Hold my bag whilst I go to take a whizz” with this she shoved her bag into my surprised hands. Surprised because my face was turned away looking at the barren land before us, they sure did not look like they could afford her any privacy from the man lugging crates who was coming at us.

It must be something in the water, or something that’s in that lazy wind which seems to almost reluctantly blow against your face.

My resolve to ignore this girl and walk on in silence was almost broken by her seeming oblivion to it. Being naive protects you from the vagaries of negative human characteristics, Vaal’s meanness does not phase you, her monosyllables do not deter your chattiness and blight on your annoyingly sunny disposition when you have been dogmatically programmed to believe that the world is made up of people as nice as you are.

So, on we went. Past a herd of mean looking multicoloured cattle, which looked like they would come after me anytime. My companion reassured me that they were harmless and the sight of us would not arouse any primitive urge to charge. For this, I was grateful. No doubt if I had been alone, i would have turned back.

On we went past two men who took a break from sharpening their tools to wave at us. On she chatted, whilst i continued with my non-committal, yes, no, maybes.I had programmed myself to auto-retort.
A soon as the school administration blocks came into view, i forced a cheery goodbye, and made to walk away.
She called me back. i sighed.

“Use my cloth to dust your feet.”

 This is a niceness i would never get in Harare, and this finally cracked that layer around my heart. Occasionally you need that naive in your face niceness, when the dust gets in your boots, hunhu. These people reminded me of that.

Cheers to cheery naïveté.

Unrefined Revolt!


Disposition of a battered woman,
Rightness of a woman uncherished,
You have endured, you have survived.
Still you wait.
For that redeemer who will not die,
For that saviour who will not come.


“Die!” you urge
“Leave us!” you beg
To a life anew,
A life renewed.


Where lays this elixir that gives you life?
This elixir that keeps you amongst us?
Take me to it;
Let me pour your life out,
Let me free dreams, beckon freedom.
Heal the wounds you have left opened,
Patch the pockets that lay ripped in the wake of your reign.


That sneer that patch,
That doctor’s fix.
That anger in your eyes, that resentment,
That pharaoh of my people.


What colour that makes you charge?
That white that makes you gnash,
The yellow you envy the black you seek to destroy.
Let them destroy you,
Let them come for you.
Let me see you flee,
“Go!” I charge
To a place faraway,
A place I have not seen,
A place they lock us from
“Leave!”

14 Sep 2011

No Such Charity Here!



I was out of ideas today, and thought of all possibilities to chase for my blog.
My relationships.
My workout sessions.
Mum.

I am kidding about the workout, I quit that ages ago. As for my mum, well I suppose it’s enough that I told you about how she exiled me and relationships are not meant for blogs. Especially mine unless I want it to end, which I do not. So really, I was out of ideas before I even looked at the keyboard.

Another no blog day, I despaired. A glooming predicament not having anything to blog is, especially for me since I always feel obliged to.

Two minutes after this thought and a concurrent chat with N. N who by the way has it in her head that my head can wrap itself around anything non-flippant. N who I love so much because she lets me talk about myself.

Anyway it occurred to me that, chronicling my Kombi odyssey as I am prone to do these days. It’s not so much that they are all I have to write about, but the introspection they afford allows my overactive brain to simply observe and take in what’s going on around me. My unflinching gaze and capacity to stare at people helps me a bit in this.

My kombi passed by -for want of a better term- a charity house today. Outside was a very long queue of dirty street urchins of all shapes and sizes, mainly boys though. I suppose contrary to popular belief boys are more likely to take to the street. I think perhaps girls try it and after a while give up and go back home.
Nevertheless each of these street kids had a large chunk of bread clenched in a tight fist, uniformly so. These made me think that perhaps they were afraid someone would come and steal the bread from them.
What impressed however was that each chunk of bread had what seemed to be a thick layer of Sun Jam, bright red it shone in the morning sun…quite impressive.

An old white woman was dishing out creamy white tea into containers that ranged from cut out plastic bottles to tin cans (which mama always said maid food bad and notions of lead poisoning did cross my mind).

No one in the kombi said a word as we passed by this house, but as soon as it was behind us conversation began again. One woman seemingly offended blurted out,
“Wasn’t she banned?”
For what? I asked myself, and settled back in haughty contemplation of this woman’s telling attitude. Are Hararians that uncharitable? Do we hate out country folk so much?

One woman turned to her seatmate and asked wonderingly,
“Does she serve white tea?”
“My, that’s a long queue.”
And so began a conversation centred on what it is she hoped to gain, “why on earth does she do it?” and one old man in front of me, eager to get his two cents in announced that he had seen a white man in the queue. a statement that caused quite a furore, looking at the people around one would have thought their heads would fall off, what with their head shaking and neck craning to catch one last glimpse of this white man anomaly.

What I took away from this 5 minute experience, when I finally disembarked was that not only were Zimbabweans a most uncharitable people but they held the belief that white people were not  allowed to be poor.
 Almost sacrilegious was the notion that one person would get up as early as 5 am to help, strangers, “dirty ones at that,” As one woman pointed out disgustedly.
Lord forbid that you should go out and beg before you’ve taken a shower!

13 Sep 2011

The Man Who WON'T Say Hello!

I have a neighbour whose hatred for P and me is almost sociopathic, neurotic even. His wife however, loves us. A typical conversation with her sounds like this.
“When you take your weave out, can I have it?”
“No, it’s booked.”
 “You need anything washed? I could do it for a dollar.” 
“No.”
“Do you have a dollar? I desperately need a dollar.” 
“No.”
“I can go fetch water for you for a buck, whilst you watch my baby for me.” I consider this for a while but the prospect of being saddled with an infant for an hour plus, fills me with dread.
“No.”
“If you give me a dollar I will give it back tomorrow.” My experience with my cheery neighbor where money is concerned has been that she doesn’t pay back.
“Mai Dzika, you can ask me all you want, I really don’t have.”

In her I have found a determined ‘pestimism’. Driven by a need to feed an ever growing family, five kids and counting. Three of them hers, but she takes care of the other two in a way no other woman in the same situation would.
Her husband, the socio neurotic taxi driver, is a sullen sour faced fellow. His excuse for not making money and giving people free rides when he really shouldn’t?
“I really am no good at this ferrying and faring business.” Says this man with the overlarge limbs and perpetual frown. Conversations with him, are an antithesis and something of entertainment for P and I, one I recall with a smile, went something like this,
“Good day sir,” (“maswera sei?”)
Silence (zii)
“I say, good day to you sir,” (“Baba Dzika, ndati maswera sei?”) 
Silence (zii)
Moving to stand directly beside him, I said again indignantly, but still determined to get that answer, “Goooood day sir!” (“ndaaati, maswera sei!”)

And finally, he turned. That perpetual frown on his face. Silence. I stood my ground, he would greet me back. I have to say dear reader, that nothing about this man’s demeanor scares me anymore; he is much like that favourite uncle… who really couldn’t be bothered with you.
So there we stood, in that dried out garden, which the lack of water (in my area) had ravaged.
Almost shouting now I barked, “GOOD DAY TO YOU SIR?” and then it came, with a furtive glance to the side and slight curling of the upper lip, “good day.” and with that he turned and left me standing there.

Later as I told P about this little Baba Dzika escapade, I realized how lucky I had been; he hadn’t so much as looked at her, but had continued to stare at his barren piece of land. Most likely willing the ground to open up and swallow her.

11 Sep 2011

Shiny Suits and Cellular Phones

It seems to me that my country folk have learnt to stand up and raise their voices for all the wrong reasons, again like the incident with the conductor, the officer and the bespectacled woman, this incident happened when my pockets had no money to spare. No extra money to give over, but like everyone around me, I wage a silent rebellion. Broken on the inside, and smiling on the incident. Again like on that other day I paid a dollar and got in with a smile.

There was one amongst us, he who chose to rise against the oppression of the sweat covered man and his clutch pressing fellow. Having gone 200 metres in contemplative silence which involved taking my phone out and sliding it up and down so my fellow passengers could see what an impressive little gadget my HTC was (I am telling you the brand dear reader because for so long I had relied on the charity of my father who chose to loan me his utility phones but never to buy them for you-once again I am showing the world that I am coming up).


I digress however.


Amongst us was one scion of human rights, and he declared in a loud, albeit scraggly voice, that he had not paid a dollar, but instead he and his cronies-a little old lady with a baby and a pale face youngster had in fact only paid $0.50c each, oh yes he did.


Shocked and amused at this utter disregard of the man with the fare, I turned to face he-who-had-spoken, only to see an unimpressive fellow with his nostrils flaring every time he finished a sentence, unimpressed I turned to face the front,


“Pay or get off,” the conductor insisted.


“I will do no such thing you are violating my constitutional rights,” to which the other unimpressive fellow added, “I am coming from work.” A statement which to me seemed to have no relevance in the ongoing discussions, but back and forth they went until the fellow who had started the furore, shouted “take me back to the bus station!” by this time I had happily started chiming in...In a voice low enough for me to hear, “it is not fair,” “an abomination this is,” “curses to you and the bus.”


Nevertheless, the driver turned his rickety one-dollar undeserving bus to take the errant passengers back. No sooner had the bus turned that the little unimpressive fellow in the back started demanding, “I want to get off now, let me off, I want to get off!” Unimpressed by this little unimpressive fellow the driver ignored him, however we had to stop at an intersection, and that little unimpressive fellow having decided that he had had enough went out through the window, amidst outraged bellowing from the conductor


“You will crack my window!” ‘”Desist I say, desist!”


Out he went like a little jack in the box!


All throughout this, a very impressive gentleman with a shiny suit and two phones, much more impressive than mine, for he held a Blackberry and a slick looking LG which he kept switching from hand to hand, like me I suppose, he did this to show our fellow passengers, how much he had come up.


He with a look of irritation and a loud impressive voice boomed to the driver, ‘stop the bus, I want to have a talk with this miscreant.’


‘You,’ he pointed to the miscreant, ‘come out now’



He unfolded his shiny suit framed body to his full impressive height, so impressive was it that I had to crane my neck to see his little head perched on narrow littler shoulders.


“Up to no good ey?”


“Not gonna pay the fair ey?”


“You think you are a hot shot ey?” On an on he went, hackling the little fellow whilst my fellow passengers cheered and sniggered.


I to say the least, was appalled. He, the little unimpressive fellow, was merely standing up for himself. It seems somewhere along the line, Zimbabweans lost the plot completely. The oppressors go about in shiny suits, impressive heights and two phones each. Whilst the rest of us languish in cheery doom!

8 Sep 2011

The Conductor, The O`ficer and The Bespectacled Woman


Zimbabweans it seems, are becoming more conniving and dishonest by the day. Gone are the days when the only people you couldn't trust were bus drivers and their conductors. Never mind that you pushed bucked and squirmed to get into their buses.

its been said that we no longer know how to get into a bus in a neat single file and  that we wait till we are crowded around the door to begin shoving and heaving. I now have a 'pressure bag.' a sturdy grey Hoola handbag my best friend got for me some two years ago, it is deep enough to demotivate any pick pocket no matter how determined, and in a country flooded with Chinese products (from Dode and Kabana to Gogo Armani), my bag is very original.

many a time have I pushed my way through a wall of stale armpits, thighs crossed in front of me, loose clothing wrapped around my face with my handbag in tow (jammed between a very fleshy woman, mind you, here the word fat is used loosely and sparingly), jammed, as I was saying, between a fleshy woman and a determined pickpocket/thief/or sometimes even, an early human (an obscure American term for child).

On this morning however, there was no need for pressure. Fares had been doubled, and empty pockets and angry landlords decreed that Hararians wait patiently for the 7 o'clock chicken bus.

My sister and I however, got into the over priced bus, too late for work to care and mixed with that was that ever present aspirational need of mine again, to have people think that I could afford the fair, which I couldn't. 

my salary was 10 days overdue and I had moved from using my own money to sitting-yes sitting- on my mother’s lap and reminding her that when I was a kid she had shipped me off to live with my grandmother in a far off communal land, only to come for me 1 and a half years later. at which point I had already started calling my Granma Mhai (mother) and my grandpa Baba (father), in imitation of her little brother my uncle. Mix that guilt with love and I managed to get $10 for the week.

So there we were P and I sitting in the front row, filled with a self importance that only a dollar fare gives you, when the conductor asked if we had all paid. Now usually what follows from the conductor in these situations, is a cold stare directed at the people in the back row. Lord only knows where they got this notoriety from. I have sat there many a time and never once did I feel inspired not to pay my fare.

On this day however, the conductor looked between me and my sister at the bespectacled woman behind us and asked her if she had paid. She, it seemed to me barked, "Yes!" in reply. 

A statement that meant nothing, but managed to shut the conductor up.

I thought the matter had ended when a police officer who had been sitting quietly in a little groove at the back of the driver’s seat, leaned forward and said, "lady I have seen you before and this is not the first time you have done this."

What followed went something like this:

"I shall insult you"

"I will arrest you"

"What a lying officer you are, a disgrace to your badge"

"Someone with spectacles should be able to pay the fair"

"What a disgustingly horrid little man you are"

Face screwed in that impossible expression. Hat off in a bid to move his head closer in that cramped space. Heavy breathing, hot panting. Blustering and fumbling for words. On and on they went. I laughed. P laughed. The whole bus was in stitches. Five minutes later, the bespectacled lady was near tears... and so was the whole bus, mortification and mirth mixed together in that rare moment of national unity.

The officer finally disembarked, leaving that poor woman (pun intended) to deal with the sniggers and blatant stares of her fellow passengers, P and I included.

A comical start to a long day, thank you bespectacled, pockmarked and as it so happens, short little woman.