Of My Office The Road

There is a Shona proverb “chitsva chiri murutsoka” which translates to; “to experience something new, travel” So when the opportunity to accompany someone on a roadtrip presented itself; I said why not. I travelled. The last long journey I had was between Harare and Masvingo and I have travelled that route many times, going to my roots so at any point I know, where I will be and how far left to go……. Now for some reason the responsible Authority on roads doesn’t seem to see it necessary to fix/replace distance markers/signposts at fixed intervals. It’s unnerving to travel blind, when you don’t how far you have gone or how far you have to go. You will only know you have arrived when the signpost welcomes you. At least you can figure out how far you have gone based on your speed and if your vehicle has a working odometer. The return trip won’t be such a blind run. Also there was a time when all bridges on the highway had a sign post with the river name on it,

Lundi river

now most bridges don’t have labels and everytime I cross one I would be wondering what river or river tributery that was or if I should look it up on GPS, if it even appears on Google Maps. It’s hard to believe police officers used to mount roadblocks at what felt like every few kilometers and they would act as if every vehicle was somehow in violation of some traffic act and they just needed to find it. You could get fined a ticket for not having a spare wheel or fire extinguisher or even if they decide your ca’s too dirty.

Zrp traffic police

We once got fined $20 because the little light which illuminates the rear number plate had blown and nearly got car impounded On this current trip we traveled a total of 700+ kilometers and not once did a police road block stop us, if there’s been any benefit the new dispensation has brought, it’s stopping police officers from abusing their stations. Gosh and the number of haulage trucks on the road, make driving a nightmare. I am guessing it’s because our railway network got itself derailed and I don’t know if we still have an operational train service but the haulage business seems to be booming. Well good for them but bad for us, the roads getting worn out, potholed and badly patched you’ll spend a small fortune fixing your vehicle’s suspension system.

Overtaking truck

Overtaking those trucks requires some video game skills especially if there’s more than one in front of you, they like travelling in packs you see. If I was president or someone in a position of power I’d decree that haulage trucks be at least 500m apart so there’s space to overtake nicely. I wish they would hurry up and complete road dualisation of major highways since these projects have been going on for so many years But the progress only of a few clicks every year at this rate probably my grandchild will witness these new roads.

When you are on the road avoid fluids but if you must then bananas are your friends you won’t need to make frequent bathroom breaks. When the road is your office

Inyanga where you so high you can reach up on the tips of your toes and touch the sky kumakomoyo

And then the are the tollgates, I have always wondered what happens to the money collected here.

Because of the cash crisis these tollgates will delay your travel time as it takes longer for people to make swipe payments from their bank cards and sometimes the system can go offline for no reason at all and there’s nothing to do but wait and ask yourself why you didn’t pick up a hitchhiker or two maybe they might have paid cash………..

And people who throw trash out the window of moving vehicles in particular and litter bugs in general who hurt you and why do you wanna hurt the earth in return what did it do to you? Maybe I have an Obsessive Complex Disorder which I think should be spelt CDO with all the words in perfect alphabetical order 😂 I keep my litter until I find a bin if I don’t find one I’ll take my litter home with because home definitely has a bin and a formula on how to dispose of trash except for teabags you can read my teabag dilemma here.

I always chuckle when I see those farewell upon leaving an area, you know the kind, those that tell you are leaving this territory, thank you please call again.

And I think how do I call you there’s no phone number on the sign post 😂 😂 😂 and I laugh and laugh and can’t understand how you don’t see this as funny

Thank you for visiting this blog please call again

~B

PS what’s a roadtrip without music if you are going to take me anywhere tell me there will be music and I won’t care even if we are in handbasket on a one way trip to somewhere where one ought to abandon all hope not sing along to Vanessa Carlton’s thousand miles

Making my way downtown

Walking fast

Faces pass

And I’m home-bound

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Of Coming Home

He sat at his executive desk with all the trimmings of success trying to think of a polite way of saying he would not be coming home for the holidays. He had promised to visit his father for Christmas but then something came up, something always did but the Easter break was rather long, he couldn’t possibly be evasive all five days of it…. Maybe if he said he was going away on a business trip____

A soft knock at the door broke him out of his reverie.
Yes?” he inquired.

The frosted glass door slid slightly, opening a fraction. He could make out the silhouette of his PA behind the door; they all knew to never just enter his office, and when he said yes, he meant state your business and then go away unless invited.

Sir, I was just about to leave, for the holiday, will there be anything?

Thank you that will be all” he dismissed her and then as an afterthought “What will you be doing this Easter?

Sir?” she responded, slightly puzzled, he was never one make personal conversation.

Family, Sir, will be with family… that’s all we ever truly have” she finished.

You, know what? You are so right. Alrighty then; get my father on the phone for me. Have a happy Easter.

Thank you Sir, see you on Wednesday.

The door slid shut silently followed by a faint click. He rubbed his temples as if that could ease the turmoil inside, if they could see him, the shark in a suit, ruthless in the boardroom dreading a conversation with his father. The telephone on his mahogany desk beeped once and then a light started flashing, indicating a call on hold. He took a deep breath, to steady himself and picked it up.

Hello baba, yes, I will be coming for Easter.”

Once he made the decision, everything else, was simply logistics; this is how he got to be where he was, single-minded objectivity. He phoned his sons, and informed them they would be going to the country, to their roots, he made it clear, he was not offering them a choice, it was an order.  That’s what his own father should have done, given him orders instead of giving him choices maybe things would have turned up differently.

A few short hours later they were on the winding road leading them back home. The ride was a bit bumpy, he had opted to use his old faithful pick-up truck and not any of his new sleek status symbols with low ground clearance and low tolerance for pothole ridden roads. The roads were terrible indeed potholes the sizes of small graves, you would think a massacre had been done on the tarmac, and then later the road would become a strip road and then finally a dirt track.

Road copy

It was a logical decision taking his trusty truck he told himself, but deep down he knew it was also superstition, he remembered stories of how people got bewitched or cursed by jealous folk for flaunting their wealth. He did not believe in witchcraft, but he certainly did not want to put it to the test.

They had been making good time being fortunate to not get stopped by any of the roadblocks that seemed to be around every bend but then luck ran out. After requesting to see driver’s licence the police officer went on to ask to for a whole lot of other things and finding fault with everything

One of his tyres had low pressure; he spare wheel was not the regulated size, the red warning triangle was not the standard issue one, the safety reflective vest was the wrong colour shade, the red reflectors at the back of the truck were not the new hologrammed ones, the fire extinguisher was an aerosol fire retardant and not a fire extinguisher, and what had finally set him off, that the car as dirty…

But officer I had the car taken to a car-wash before I left the city_” he tried to argue

There are dead bugs on your windscreen….Dirt” The officer pointed and while he was saying that a bird flying past decided then to drop its business on the truck’s bonnet.

X sitting in the back seat snickered “I bet that bird is his and he trained it do that”

Shut up son, I am handling this” he said as he lowered the volume on the stereo which up till now had been belting out beats, as his son called them, after all it was X’s phone connected to the auxiliary port.

Ah and I did not see a valid listener’s licence for your stereo” The police observed

There was no use arguing, he knew it, you had to pay the radio licence whether you listened to local radio or not, he even wanted to ask do you want to see the licence for my Phone has well it has a radio on it but instead said;

“Ok just write me up the ticket Officer”

“Well, you have multiple traffic offences, you see, and the law states that we impound your vehicle pending a court case and tomorrow being the start of a holiday… that will only be next week Wednesday__”

He started cursing and ranting.

“Calm down father__” but of course never in the history of calming down has anyone calm down by being told to calm down, you can imagine how everything escalated and father and sons ended up handcuffed to a tree restrained ‘for their own protection that is’ and the car was being hitched to an impound tow truck.

“Dad..” X whispered to his father “ this is not the time to be all self-righteous offer the guy a bribe, that’s what you should have done from the start, how did you become such a shrewd business man if you cant grease a few palms”

“but he is the police__”

“Exactly! They are the most corrupt of them all, let me handle this, dad give me your wallet.” X requested “Officer, please step into my office!” He yelled from beneath the tree they were handcuffed to.

Not long after that they were merrily on their way, plus an extra passenger, turns out the officer was just finishing his shift and was headed in the same direction, so he was now riding shotgun and they didn’t get troubled by any other roadblocks as their passenger with a quick wave gesture got them waved through.

They got to the country just before midnight, a bonfire lit one of the thatched gazebos where, his father waited, years had passed since he left for the city, never once had he returned but now, now he was back… He hugged his father, no other words, none were necessary. They sat in silence of the crackling fire, all the unsaid words between them reflected in the tears that sparkled red in the firelight. Wood smoke does sting the eyes does it not?

“Tomorrow my son, I will show you your goats, we can slaughter a couple and you can take some meat with you, and when the police stop you next time, just offer them some goat….”

They laughed, sometimes you need to take the winding road ever leading you back home, to see how you never really left….

The End

~B

BlogBattle Entry themed bribery… again the story continues you can catch up HERE

Of Coffee Roadtrips and Flags 

If you were having coffee with me, we would be having a road trip, by bus, it’s a long trip  I hope you brought a book 📖
After a bit of (miss)adventure at the bus terminus, when the touts manhandled our luggage trying to get us into particular buses, we finally got bundled into a bus more to our liking and it was just about to drive off, so we had to do a little run, to catch up….

If you were having coffee with me I would ask you if you want the window seat or aisle seat?  Well I prefer the window seat,  so I can look out the window to wile away time,  it’s a four hour journey hope you brought a book…..📖

An hour later and we are still in the same  spot…. The driver has been doing this crazy routine; he starts the bus, revs up the engine as if about to leave, goes forward a bit, then reverses again and stops. A new passenger or two rush in thinking its now about to go. The conductor keeps saying “We will leave when we get… just one more passenger....” We have already paid for our tickets and he won’t give us a refund, so we cant get into another bus, unless you want to pay double, we been hustled.
Finally we are off now, oh no, we stopped again. I hope it’s not a fault because the driver said this was an express bus it won’t stop along the way, we are just about to complain loudly when the driver announces over the bus PA system that we should do a quick prayer for safety before we travel, well that’s an unexpected touch, I feel safer already.

If you were having coffee with me I would tell you that the universal symbol for someone who does not want to engage in small talk should be an icon of a passenger with earphones plugged in and a book in hand…….

Unfortunately I can’t read my book, the ride is very bumpy, the road is riddled with badly patched potholes, that you want to ask, what exactly do they do with all they money they collect from tollgates I mean we have just passed through two so far, and have been stopped by the police only once I think there is definitely far less road blocks today, that’s one of the reasons people protested about the past week.

Speaking of protest if you were having coffee with me I would tell you that the man who started the #ThisFlag movement, Pastor Evan Mawarire, handed himself in to the police on Wednesday for questioning, carrying nothing but his bible and a flag draped round his neck (and a lawyer…) He got arrested and charged with “… Incitement to public violence...” A court date scheduled for the next day

Social media was abuzz with images of the investigators searching through the pastor’s house for “… a stolen police helmet, a “button stick ” and other subversive materials… ” with a government document that could have such errors even the spelling of government at the top of the warrant is wrong…..

If you are wandering what a button stick is…if not a typo: a helpful but funny internet user posted the following picture as a suggestion:

If you are having coffee with me, I would tell you that a record breaking crowd of flag carrying citizens gathered outside the courthouse during the court session.

Over a hundred lawyers volunteered to represent pastor Evan, and when the magistrate asked who was representing this man fifty hands shot up to present their credentials.

After delaying the case for hours, the Prosecution changed charge to… “subverting a constitutionally elected government

Meanwhile outside, people waited for the verdict; knelt in prayer……

The magistrate eventually dismissed the case on procedural grounds because The State was in violation of the constitution since they had not briefed the defendant  on the new charges prior to court…
Pastor Evan walked free…. 

The people who were present have no words for the emotion they had throughout this long day and it’s final conclusion, it’s a day that will not be easily forgotten. For some it was a massive demonstration of solidarity for others a reaffirmation of their faith in the justice system and for some faith of a different kind Someone tweeted that:

The Third Force is the hand of God 

If you were having coffee with me we would not be having coffee because this bus ain’t stopping for bathroom breaks for a long distance to come,  so no liquids, have a sandwich
Cheers

~B

PS the road least travelled has no Wi-Fi do tell me what’s been happening in your neck of the woods.

Just been catching up on the news and all I can say is:

How much blood,

How much blood,

Can one world shed,

Have you ever wandered?  

Photo credit Simon Allison