DIASPOMAN : Of “two-wheel-drive” and peer pressure

Last weekend, Aggrey requested me to accompany him to a certain secondary school here in town. His niece is at this school in senior 6. She happened to be in a desperate mood. She had sent an SMS to Aggrey requesting for SOS! This was supposed to be in form of goodies ranging from Nido milk to packed katogo. The visiting hour on this hot Sunday afternoon was 4pm. As Aggrey sorted out a couple of issues, I waited for him at the drinking joint where I settled for a cold Amstel. Soft music seeped though the perched speakers.

Last weekend, Aggrey requested me to accompany him to a certain secondary school here in town. His niece is at this school in senior 6. She happened to be in a desperate mood.

She had sent an SMS to Aggrey requesting for SOS! This was supposed to be in form of goodies ranging from Nido milk to packed katogo. The visiting hour on this hot Sunday afternoon was 4pm. As Aggrey sorted out a couple of issues, I waited for him at the drinking joint where I settled for a cold Amstel. Soft music seeped though the perched speakers.

I lazed around for one more hour before Aggrey cropped up in his sleek four-wheel-drive. He screeched to a halt, left the engine running and joined me at the counter to settle my bill.  

It was approaching 3.30 pm so we headed off for our visiting Sunday rendezvous. On our way, we stopped at the Kisementi supermarkets, where Aggrey collected sugar, milk, bread and bathing soap.

All this for his 18 year old nice! We drove along the dusty and bumpy road to the school. We approached the place. The place was swarmed by literally hundreds of cars. There was no space for parking.

We negotiated around the bend and parked our jeep near an anthill. By this time, Linda had spotted her uncle drive in and was leaping up in joy.

Along with her 2 friends, they grabbed their loot from us. I could sense that the other unfortunate students hanging around were getting jealous.  

Being desperate candidates, Linda and her friends were clad in rough jeans trousers and sleeveless blouses. Their hair was not combed and several pencils were protruding from all angles of her head.

They walked as if they were bouncing on the moon. They exchanged high fives and strolled down leaving behind a band of on looking compatriots.  

Well! I turned to Aggrey with a look of disapproval. Why pamper these young girls to such an extent? Remember what it was like over a decade ago? All this luxury never used to exist!

Remember when my old uncle boarded a bus from Mutara to visit his daughter at the same school? I remember it vividly. It was June 1996.

The old man carried a calabash of cow ghee for his 15 year old daughter who was at this same school. It was a Saturday evening when Mzee came to our house in Kiyovu of the poor. 

I had spent the day at home while Aggrey had dashed to the market. I expressed my happiness to Mzee by buying him two quick bottles of Primus.  

Mzee then unfolded his polythene bag to reveal the ghee that he had brought for his daughter. Suddenly, the whole room got filled with a powerful smell, followed by a buzz of houseflies.

Mzee sat back with a wry smile to show how satisfied he was with his consignment. We agreed to retire so that we could be fresh for the visiting day.

The next day, Aggrey, Mzee and I left the house with our cow ghee. The old man seemed excited about visiting his daughter who was at secondary school.

Since we did not own any cars during those mid 90s, we decided to use the natural RAV-2s. Our RAV-2s took us up to the Payage stage where we boarded the twegyerane.  

The taxi dropped us at the nearest bus stage. We left a host of on-looking passengers wondering where that powerful smell of cow ghee was coming from.

Off we walked for 30 Minutes on the dusty road to the school. Students were already assembled in anticipation for visitors.  

I was the first to spot Mzee’s daughter. What surprised me is that instead of running towards us, she instead made a quick U-turn and sprinted away back to her dormitory!

Wow! What was happening really? Sorry, one of her friends told us the reason the young girl fled was because we drove in with a RAV 2 instead of the RAV 4.

Peer pressure would be intolerable for her if she received visitors who had travelled on foot and not in a 4 wheel cruiser! We had to fabricate a good lie for Mzee.

We told him that his daughter had gone to Kibuye with classmates for a geography fieldwork.  Mzee had no choice but to leave the cow ghee with us. We thanked him and dispatched him back to Mutara.  

As soon as Mzee boarded the Mutara bound taxi, we quickly sought for someone who would appreciate free mature ghee.

A kiosk owner was the lucky recipient. We promised ourselves that the next time Mzee came over for a visiting Sunday, we would borrow a friend’s car – if there was any! 

diaspoman@yahoo.com 

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