When it was recently announced that drunk drivers would be apprehended, I started to panic for real.
The panic was because of my nocturnal habits that have refused to leave me. Luckily enough, Aggrey doesn’t trust me so much as to lend me his car for weekends.
Only on certain occasions does he let me cruise around in his jeep – and for most of the time, my blood in the vessels is mixed with good quantities of alcohol.
So, the time has come and I have to try and avoid those traffic policemen who are busy checking for our breath! Oh my oh my, if these guys had been around 14 years ago, their gadgets would have been exploded by the simple breath of a certain Mr. Waraje!
Mr. Waraje was a drinking buddy of ours during the mid 90s. Aggrey and I used to participate in deadly drinking sessions during those crazy times. We used to take sips of these semi-poisonous drinks whenever our pockets started to yawn in real hunger.
Our pockets would be yawning by the 15th day of the month. This is because Aggrey and I would have used up all our salaries within the first 2 weeks of the month. We spent 3% of our salaries on foodstuffs like beans and posho for our houseboy.
The remaining 97% would be spent at Caimen, where we would buy beers and pizzas for Kigali gold-diggers.
Once we had exhausted all our savings, Aggrey and I would soon realize that human nature behaves in a certain way; indeed friends multiply during the good times, especially when you are seen to be offering beers and brochettes.
But when the pockets dry up, all the friends vanish in thin air. In our case, the friends never vanished for long. They always timed moments when our NGO employer released hard currency dollars at month-end. That’s when they would all come back to enjoy our salaries.
So, when it was that time of the month when our pockets would be weeping in shame, we always had someone to lean on. He was our rock during the thirsty times.
He fulfilled our desires by taking us to his favourite joint called Béa’s pub. I am talking about the one and only Mr. Waraje. You may recall that Mr. Waraje earned this unique name due to his unquenchable love for a concentrated product manufactured in Uganda.
He used to spend a sizable chunk of his time at Béa’s joint enjoying glasses of Uganda Waragi. He would then jump in his ramshackle Peugeot 504 and somehow make it to his house.
His house was just next to ours at Kiyovu of the poor. Somehow, he managed to climb over the gate after mid-night. He lived alone in his house and that is why it usually took him several minutes to identify the right key for his front door.
Occasionally, he became tired of looking for the key and instead would sit outside to sing his most favourite tune; “Uganda Waraje, Uganda Waraje!” He would be singing this song in praise of his sweet liquor that hails from the Rwenzori Mountains of the moon.
This is the man that used to shoulder our thirst related problems when our pockets suddenly dried up. The advantage about Mr. Waraje is that he could get credit facilities from Béa at any time.
In fact, Mr. Waraje was so much attached to Béa’s pub that he picked all his earnings and banked them at her coffers.
Anyways, we felt at ease whenever we were with Mr. Waraje. The only problem is that we had to push his 504 Peugeot for some minutes in order to kick start the engine. By the time the engine came to life, Aggrey and I would be sweating profusely.
As the car rolled on, we would ran from behind and jump in swiftly. One would mistake us for real commandos. At Béa’s pub we would open our mouths for potent drinks.
They had several names; kill me quick, UG or ka-quarter. The level of intoxication varied according to the type of crowd and type of subjects that were being discussed.
When the crowd talked about football and basketball, we never bothered to join in. That meant that we would not get so drunk. But when the subject changed from sports to politics and economics, Aggrey and I would jump into the band wagon.
This is because we would attempt to show off that we were educated and that we were indeed the future leaders of the economy. As a result, we would raise our voices so high.
In the process, the deadly liquors would take hold of our heads and tongues; “People, you shee we can onry contlor inflason by declizing money shuppry”
Once our “Rs” and “Ls” got intertwined like this, Béa would urge us to leave the bar at once lest she called for an ambulance. With the help of some bouncers, we would be lifted out of our wooden stools and thrown into Mr. Waraje’s 504.
The bouncers would give it a push and Waraje would steer the car towards Kiyovu of the poor. However on such nights, Waraje’s eyes would refuse to focus properly. That is why he would instead direct the 504 towards Kimihurura. He would accelerate the junk vehicle and end up at a stranger’s gate.
The night watchman would then come out and interrogate us. Finally he would give us his verdict; “Guys, you better go back for geography lessons. This is not Kiyovu of the poor…”
Well well well, I can only imagine what would have happened if those men in yellow were around with their breathalyzers!