Everybody wants to go to heaven, but nobody wants to die

Dear nephew Milambo

Greetings from this place where mosquitos rule supreme, and city askaris demolish structures like toy houses.

I hope that the spirit of Chief Mirambo has continued to protect you and your family from any calamities, hidden and exposed, and that the hand of Limatunda continues to offer you guidance.

You see son, I mentioned the city askaris earlier because in this confused city, there are people who are called the ‘machingas’, we have them in Tabora, but they are not as chaotic like the ones we have here.

These are the people who can sell anything to you, from oversized underwear to a Chinese TV, and they have taken over all the spaces in the city, and they are like a group of angry ants, because they are all over, especially in the evenings.

Just the other day me and your aunty went to town, and there is a place we passed where these machinga people had spread their goods right by the road, and you know how your aunt drives, it happened that she ran over a couple of things, including pots and pans, and the owner was furious.

Because they are many, they tried to stop the car and demanded that they should be compensated. It was ugly my boy, and I assure you the Ruga ruga blood in me reached boiling point when one of them tried to open the driver’s door.

I would have committed cold blood murder had it not been for a lone police officer who came to their rescue, because the war cry of the dreaded warrior in me made the young officer to realise that the place was about to become a murder scene.

Anyway, I just wanted to give you a brief picture of the life we live here in the big city, that is why the chief of this place, the ones they call the Regional Commissioner, ordered his askaris to get rid of this lot, and they partly succeeded, because in some areas these people are still around, and usually they appear in the evenings as if they emerge from underground holes.

I am blissful in spirit even after the fact that the rain gods here in the confused city have decided that we are better off without it, and the gods of the sun have taken over in vengeance.

As I am writing this, I am lounging on an easy chair at a certain beach near our place, and I am trying to wash out some of the dust that might have accumulated in my old throat, and your dear aunt is busy taking those things they call ‘selfies’, which involves looking at the mobile phone and making funny faces before clicking away the camera.

Your aunt, even at her age, can spend considerable time doing this exercise, that is why the other day I told you that even at my age I still find women to be a great mystery which Liwelelo has not granted us the faintest idea.

I have already downed two very cold beers, and I feel that my system is ready to go, although my wife, after exhausting herself making faces on her phone, is looking at me with murderous eyes because it is only 10 a.m in the morning.

Apart from her complaints, your aunt sends her greetings to you and your family, and she is enquiring whether you received the gift she sent for you and your family. If limatunda wishes, I think she will come over next week.

You see son, the problem with the gods of this confused city is that they always like to go to extremes in whatever they do, I don’t know whether they do it for fun or for necessity.

Unlike in my beloved Ukumbisiganga, here in this confused city when the gods of rain decide to pour out the waters from heaven, they do it as if there is no tomorrow, and when they decide to release the sun, they go about it as if they are competing among themselves, it is total chaos.

But all the same, life is okay here my dear boy, and we thank Limatunda for his protection and care, and we hope that you are also enjoying good health and high spirits as you wait for your new child.

My dear nephew, two days ago I realised that human beings, whether rich or poor, are all afraid of meeting their ancestors in the afterlife, and they can do whatever is in their powers to extend their stay on earth. I found this when I was having a drink or two with my pal Alfred, a cook at a certain joint called ‘Sina Chuki Pub’, and the place had a good number of patrons.

I was on my fourth cold one at the counter, and Alfred had the attention of most of the people at the counter, telling us how Madam President had personally requested him to become her cook at the big white house called State House, when in walked a fellow carrying a huge bag on his shoulder.

He came straight to where we were seated and placed the bag at the farthest corner of the counter before he ordered for a bottle of cold water. You see son, this can be a normal occurrence in any pub in most countries, but in this particular case, the fellow in question happened to be of Somali origin, and after he was given the water, he did not utter a single word to anyone.

The fellow was sweating profusely, and apart from the fact that he was staring around the pub in a suspicious manner, he also had a serious twitch on his left eye.

Matters started to run out of hand when the fellow stood up and went outside, and he was not back several minutes later, and his bag was still at the counter.

The memory of that fellow called Hamza is still fresh in the memories of these people, because they remember how Hamza, who was of Somali origin, challenged our local police to a shooting contest.

That is why when someone declared that the Somali fellow might be related to Hamza because they have striking similarities, it did not take long for people to put two and two together.

My dear nephew, that bag at the counter, after being observed by all the eyes, was the one which remained a few seconds later, because people scrambled from that pub in record time.

A thin woman who was seated next to Alfred on the counter screamed at the top of her voice, alerting everyone that there was a bomb in the bag, because she heard something ticking from within.

Son, I found myself staring at an empty counter, and I still have no idea how Alfred managed to disappear like smoke in a windy field despite the fact that he is built like a sumo wrestler.

To cut a long story short my dear nephew, it proved to be a false alarm, because the poor fellow had just gone outside to buy airtime and send some money at a nearby kiosk.

But believe me, before he could be allowed to continue swallowing his cold water, the police who were called on the scene had to make sure that he was indeed innocent, and to prove beyond any reasonable doubt that he was not in any way related to Hamza, and when they forced him to open his bag, we discovered that the fellow was just selling second- hand shirts.

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