In this city, being mugged can take seconds

DEAR Nephew Milambo

Greetings from Dar es Salaam

l hope that it is by the grace of Limatunda that you are all doing fine, and that all the people of my beloved Ukumbisiganga are in great shape, both physically and spiritually. Here in the confused city things are much the same and l know if l once again tell you about the disturbing heat it will be nothing new to you, because l constantly complain of the same situation.

Nothing much has changed here my dear boy, only that a few days ago the gods of rain blessed us with precious rain and it was a great relief, because the heat was choking us.

I was talking to your aunt the other day and she said that you guys are doing great and that the new baby is growing by the day and she also informed me that she has the dark beauty of a Nyamwezi queen. She also said that as Christmas is approaching, she expects to return home on the last week before Christmas day and she told me that I should convince you to come with her so that we can celebrate together.

l think it is because of your great character which is normal in our Nyamwezi lineage, because your aunt seems to be in love with you, had you been older and of a different tribe, l would have declared war on you my dear son! But all in all, your presence here during the Christmas holidays is vital my son, because as you know l will be just here with your aunt and for a man the presence of a fellow male species is precious.

As l told you sometime back, l wish that my crazy son in the US was more like you, manly and responsible, but that boy of mine can never be described with any of those virtues and l am ashamed to say this, but that boy is a disgrace to his mother.

Anyway, they say that you should not go around complaining if God gives you lemon you should just go ahead and make yourself some lemonade, but that boy of mine should be compared with a fruit which is not edible.

l hope that your son is now feeling fine, because l was told that he was running a high fever some few days ago and l have to let you know that l had to plead with the ancestors to restore his health and l am sure he is now in his cheerful self once again.

As l am writing this my dear boy, my old legs are aching as if l have just come from completing a gruesome marathon, because recently l went to visit a friend of mine and unfortunately l got lost.

You see, this fellow told me that he lives somewhere near a place called Buguruni Market here in the confused city and because l know that, nowadays l am a veteran of the city, l did not believe that l could get lost. According to the conductor of the bus that l took, Buguruni was on their route, so l told him to let me know when we reached there and sitting comfortably at the back of the bus, l promptly fell asleep.

l woke up on several occasions and inquired from the conductor if l should get ready to alight, but the young man told me to relax, that he would let me know once we get near my stop.

l don’t know for how long l slept after that, but the next thing l saw was the face of the conductor hovering close to my face and he was telling me that l should alight, but unfortunately he had forgotten all about me and had realised his mistake one stop ahead.

“But it is not far old man, you just cross the road and right ahead is your initial stop, pole sana”, he said as he ushered me outside. Before l could ask him which road l was supposed to cross the bus had roared off.

l asked a passerby to direct me to Buguruni Market and his sense of direction leaves a lot to be desired, because apart from assuring me that there is a corner where l will see an old man reading a newspaper, he also told me that after several corners l will come across a woman lighting a charcoal stove outside her house.

l tell you son, this city is full of crazy characters and l believe that it is the effect of the alcohol in plastic bottles which has a reputation of giving you double kicks and the herbs they inhale as if their lives depend on it!

My dear nephew, because l did not want to appear stupid, l decided to take a shortcut to the market and that is when l got completely lost and by the time l came across the main road, it was one and a half hours later! Son, this city and its crazy inhabitants is huge and walking under the hot afternoon sun that day, one corner led to another and before l knew it l was smack in the middle of some parts commonly known here as ‘uswahilini’, which is another name for some sort of a ghetto.

l met some groups of young men and women who had a hungry look in their eyes and the warrior Rugaruga blood in my veins suddenly felt cold despite the terrible heat!

My dear nephew, anything could have happened to me that day, because the way they were looking at me it was obvious that their hands were itching to go through my pockets!

I tried calling the fellow l was going to see, but the phone went on ringing without any response.

Finally, when l came across the main road and saw the buses passing by, l jumped in the nearest one, not caring whether it was going to Tabora or Tabata!!

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