Monday, 18 January 2010

Welcome to Tanzania

 The Road Ahead toward Sumbawanga

I am now riding on a typical African ‘dirt’ road: rugged, portholes, sand, loose stones, and generally not maintained.  Let me mention that I did not have knobblies for tyres; I had Anakee 2 which had handled the paved road surface as well as on firm dirt road so far very well, but that is about it.  The story takes on a new twist when I begun to encounter different dirt road conditions as you will soon learn.  In hindsight, and ever since I returned from this trip, I changed to 50/50 tyres.  These are good both for paved and unpaved roads to some extent.

Part of this trip was to relish the riding on different road surfaces.   This being the aim, my first encounter on the dirt road in spite of my first tumble had wetted my appetite for more.  I picked up speed gradually climbing to 120km per hour.  I man the machine and Scorpion mans the road, it is a perfect scene for the duo to perform a perfect rode dance.   It is about 2:00 pm, my destination is Sumbawanga a small dusty town located about 200km from the border.  To say that the stretch from Mbala (Zambia) to Kasesya border post (Tanzania) was a bad road is an understatement.  It was the beginning of the road from Hell. If truth be told then it is that I tumbled so many times that after the 15th tumble, I stopped counting.   Well the next stretch from Kasesya for the next 200 kms was firm dirt road with loose stones and lots of dust.  It was thrilling to leave a cloud of dust trailing behind me.   You see, the little joys of life are in the little links that make life worthwhile and leave ones face creases with a smile.   My delight was to be on this odyssey with all its attendant factors.   

A Market Day -- Pawpaws

Although riding required 110% of my attention to which I committed myself to the extent that I decided not to listen to music from an Ipod a generous friend had lent me, I always allowed myself a little serious thought.  I did not want this to be a trip just for its sake: the fact that I was riding alone was a great source of pleasure.  It allowed me considerable measure of time to be alone and therefore room for some deep thought on many personal issues.  2009 was particularly a good year if such a thing can be said.  Part of the ride was to say thank you.  I was grateful to the Divine that I had received many blessings one of which was that I had landed a permanent job as a lecturer.  Yet in the midst of all these joy and laughter was raw pain, heart rending pain that left me sometimes numb and asking “why” to which I did not have answers.   I will return to this point shortly.

In the meantime, I wish to say that all my life I had spent time doing things for people, and one of them was to seeing my 4 siblings through school.  My mother had died when I was only 21.  That is the age when you want your mother around since it is the point when you are making some life-time decisions.  And even though you make the decisions, you need a trusted one to listen, to endorse, to question and even sometimes to remonstrate with you.  It is that time of transition from being a teen to being an adult.  It is an important time that makes or breaks you.  I was very close to my mom; she was my best friend and mentor.  I trusted her; I confided in her; I depended on her.  One day she summoned me to her bed side in hospital.   Without much ado she said to me, you are going to school – I was a just beginning my year as a sophomore – you will not find me when you return next vacation.  To cut the long story short, that is how it happened.  I remember the day vividly.  One day I met my neighbour Alfred on a street in Kampala – it was a clear hot and dusty Kampala day.  He called me by name and offered condolences for the passing of my mother.   I remember sitting by the roadside and crying like a baby.  

In our discussion at the bedside, mom’s desire was that I marry a beautiful lady and have a family.  I wanted to join the priesthood; it was therefore necessary to obtain her blessings.   She had gone silent for an hour when I disclosed my heart’s desires.  In the end she said no.  I had to take care of my siblings when she was gone. 

In 1993 I found and feel in love with a girl I adored so much.  Juliet, for that was her name, was everything a man desires in a woman: kind, hard-working, intelligent, beautiful, funny, and the list is endless.  I visited Juliet on the 24th of December 1993.  That was the last time I saw her alive.  She was tragically shot and killed on the 1st of Jan 1994. She was the second beloved person I was lost in a space of two years.   What was the meaning of these happenings?  First it was mom and now it was Juliet.  I cried so much until I had to beg God to stop the tears.  The tear stopped; I never cried again about Juliet to this day. 

In June 1995, I joined the Jesuits for priesthood training – for the next eleven years I was in the training for priesthood against my mother’s will. 

In 2006, I quit.  In October 2008 I got engaged to a Xhosa girl – a great person, very intelligent, a great soul.  We planned to marry on 28th Feb 2010, but alas it was not to be!   She told me one day, she was not interested any more in the relationship.  She left the engagement ring on the table.  I subsequently disposed of it at Livingstone Falls.  It was painful – but what could be more painful than the loss of mom and the loss of Julie?  I had to learn to live with such pain.  Lots of friends gave me strength.  In this manner, delving deep in my life experiences, I covered ground to reach Sumbawanga about mid-afternoon without realising that I had covered nearly 200kms.  But my pains were not yet finished; a new wave was waiting somewhere in the realm of the unknown.
Arriving at Sumbawanga


  1. Mzee. Having followed all your writings both on your blog, and to a certain extent, on the forum, I could ascertain that you are a man of strong character. It takes such a man to share such deep thoughts with perfect strangers. It feels like I know you even having never met you. God Bless, my friend.

  2. Thank you Bradley for the kind comments.


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