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My son, this heat will be the end of me

My son, this heat will be the end of me

Dear nephew Milambo

Greetings from Dar es Salaam

MY dear nephew, I hope that the great ancestors of Tabora have been watching over you and your young family, and I hope that the protection has extended to all my people of my beloved Ukumbisiganga.

I received your message from your uncle Athumani, who appeared on my doorstep unannounced last week with his pregnant wife, and he told me how he was chased from his house.

I still don’t understand what happened, and my effort of trying to get any information from him ended up with him crying his eyes out as if he has just received news of the death of his beloved.

From the little I gathered from his wife, it seems that his son Rama went behind his back and sold their piece of land without his knowledge, and that the stupid boy is nowhere to be seen.

When I was there, I remember I told your uncle that Rama, that irresponsible son of his, will send him to the ancestors before his time, and I can see that it is slowly coming to pass.

There was a time when I was there that boy made my Nyamwezi blood reach boiling point and I nearly committed cold blood murder when I discovered that he was about to sell one of my cows, and the stupid boy had chosen a prime one for that matter!

I remember that day I was sitting outside Kasele’s shop when I saw someone leading a fat cow towards the market, and a closer look confirmed that indeed the cow was mine.

He told me that Rama had given him the task of selling the cow, claiming that it was his, and he had promised him a commission for his trouble.

Anyway, your uncle Athumani is in a very poor state, because I understand that his son, after stealing his documents, went ahead and sold the place to a certain Arab who wants to open a petrol station.

I took him to my local drinking spot the other day, and when the alcohol started taking its toll, he suddenly started singing war songs and screaming the dreaded Rugaruga war cry, making some of the patrons to scamper for cover in fear.

It took me a long time to calm him down, but eventually he recovered and started sobbing uncontrollably, calling the name of his son over and over again.

You see son, for one to become cursed does not require a lot of effort, and I can assure you the tears of my brother will not leave Rama in peace, because he has angered the gods and the ancestors with his stupid and cruel act, and I can assure you that as long as he lives, he will never know peace.

Anyway, here in the hot city it seems things are going from bad to worse, because as I told you in my last letter, the sun is hitting us mercilessly, and things are not getting any better.

A few minutes ago there was a drizzle which lasted for a few minutes, but if you look at the ground it is as if it has never received water in decades, and there is no evidence that it showered at all.

To make matters worse, I told you the last time that apart from the dreadful heat, there is a serious shortage of water, and our situation is not any better, because now I have to take a bath only once a day, and your aunt measures the water as if a single drop lost will kill her.

When I thought that nothing could be worse than this, now we have power rationing, so you can imagine the heat is extreme, there is no water to cool your body with, and on top of that there is no electricity.

Because when there is power, at least it becomes bearable in the house because your aunt installed several air conditioners in the house, which makes the heat bearable, so you can imagine our situation.

Just the other day I went with your aunt to Kariakoo market to ask for the price of a generator, and when the young man at the shop wrote the figure on a piece of paper, the numbers were so many for a moment I though he had written his telephone number, in short the things are very expensive my son.

Our plans for our trip in December are progressing well, and if Limatunda wishes we will be there for Christmas, although we will not stay for long as we had anticipated earlier.

I know I will get an opportunity to visit my workers at my tobacco farm, because Salum the caretaker was complaining that the workers are demanding for a salary increment, and I told him to calm them down and wait for me.

I hope too that I will use the trip to come and convince you to take the responsibility of overseeing my financial activities in Tabora, because most of these young men are not trustworthy at all.

I understand that your wife is planning to start a tailoring shop in our beloved Ukumbisiganga, because when we went to Kariakoo market the other day she was asking for the price of several sewing machines, and she told me that your wife had requested for one.

I can hear your aunt calling in the kitchen, I think she has discovered that one of the 20-liter water bucket is missing, because I have hidden it so that I can have an afternoon bath, because this heat will drive me crazy.

Say hi to your wife and your young son, and I hope we will communicate again before we start our journey to come over, and I hope that the grace of Liwelelo will protect you and your family.

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Author: ANTHONY TAMBWE

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