A Heavy Downpour

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Status: In Progress  |  Genre: Memoir  |  House: Footsteps, yarns and little fibs
After heavy rain I'm asked to transport people, but it is risky

Submitted: October 09, 2016

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Submitted: October 09, 2016



When you are engrossed in conversation and winning nearly every hand at five hundred, which Mo and I usually did, we did not notice how heavy the rain was falling. After the celebration drink, Mags and I paddled out to the wee Maruti to head off back to Sanawari. We were surprised to be paddling because the surface water was above our ankles and flooding had never happened before at Mo and Jo’s place! Scurrying the few metres from the door to the Maruti, we became soaked!

We were at Ilboru, which is on a flat ridge and Sanawari is just the next ridge over with a gulley in between. We had to drive down to the main road and then head up the Sanawari road to get home. The windscreen wipers were not coping and the heavy rain reflected the headlights, so visibility was poor. Going down the road was like driving down a river, there was water coming in the bottom door sills! The main road wasn’t awash, it had recently been upgraded with deep, concrete water tables but they were running full. The Sanawari road is steeper, and it was a river too! I was concerned because the Maruti is a light vehicle and the floodwaters could easily pick it up! Twice water actually swept over the bonnet and she did lose traction a few times, but thankfully we arrived safely!

The next day was Sunday and I had promised Josiah that I would take him, his wife with some of his choir to Likamba village where they were to perform at the church there. Josiah was the choirmaster at his local church. They hired a minivan, and I knew they could all squeeze in, but old Josiah liked to show that he was working with an mzungu so really wanted me to take them. Although the rain had stopped, I knew there was a creek crossing to negotiate before the track that leads to the village, and I knew there was damage throughout the region, so I decided to drive to Josiah’s house to cancel the trip. It was even a mission getting there! There used to be a large wattle and daub house with shingles made from beaten out kerosene tins on the junction of the main road and the road that led to some government department offices. It was right beside a creek and there was no sign of it! The tracks through Josiah’s village were a challenge and difficult to negotiate!

‘Oh no! Of course was must proceed!’ Insisted Josiah. It would have been difficult to communicate with the choir, but I was not thrilled about the prospect of getting bogged in the creek crossing, but I finally agreed! The return home was just as difficult, and I snatched a quick bite, changed into clothes that might be considered respectable and returned to collect Joshia and his wife. By the time we had been around all the village, the little Maruti was jam-packed with singers! And they sang as we negotiated the tricky terrain!

As I expected the creek had become a torrent and had washed down huge amounts of soil from the farms within its catchment but by now the flow was no more than normal, however the soil had become mud. So I stopped to survey the scene. Josiah was upset I didn’t just plough into the mud, but the mini-van diver who presently arrived backed me up! I’ve learned the hard way not to take advice where and where not to drive!

I walked up and down the creek bed looking for a crossing point and found an area that I thought was solid enough to negotiate. With the promise of a push if I became stuck, even though they were in their Sunday best, I gave it a try and with the aid of four wheel drive found it quite easy. The mini-van driver wisely decided against following my example so I offered to ferry them all up. The round trip took just over twenty minutes and I had to make four trips, so I thought with luck I might miss the speeches!

I was not so lucky, but mind you I’ve sat through my share! After the series of speeches, the host church put on a meal. How did those women cooks know what time to prepare for and how do they cook for so many over a three stone fire? It was all well received, complete with the ubiquitous soda!

Both choirs sang in rotation, not a competition, they were celebrating music, often with a church theme, but I found myself enjoying it! The singing was followed by a play with the main actors being Josiah,  his wife and some others. It was very well done and I’m not sure I can do it justice in this précis.

A rich man coerces a young woman to be his mistress and treats her badly without care. The young woman wants to marry a nice young man, and is frightened to admit to him that she is under the power of the rich man. The rich man’s wife knows about her husband’s misdeeds and about the young love but she hasn’t said anything to either party. She asks for the help of the pastor to talk to the rich man and he does, but the rich man just laughs and says he won’t attend church anymore! The wife whispers something to the rich man and he beats is her but vows not to touch the young woman again! The play ends with the young lovers hugging, but of course the crowd asks what the wife had whispered.

‘It was a lie,’ she said, ‘I told him the young woman was my daughter to another man I knew before we met! And I laughed at him for thinking I was a virgin!’

There was much more acting than that, but that’s the picture. The audience applauded loudly and I enjoyed myself as well! I was alert though, listening to the approaching thunder meaning the threat of more rain! It made me nervous because it was going to take a long time to make the return journey, again ferrying everyone back to the min-van and then dropping my passengers home. All went well until the last trip, when Josiah still yakking on to his opposite choir master just would not come! The rain stared and the lightning glared its warning! I started the engine and began to drive off slowly, I had in my mind that I wasn’t going to stop, but he came running and sat wet and silent for the remainder of the trip. I was home just after dark.


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