SHE sat down on a bench in front of a closed shop waiting for HER ride. It was a Sunday morning. Late Sunday morning.
Behind the shop was a sprawling “campus” of mini factories with giant cooking pots, sitting delicately on stone tripods and tilting towards the north of Durumi district. Burnt out fires lazily discharge thin columns of light smoke into the air. The brews were cooling and waiting to be served.
And the women filed out from various churches in the neighbourhood, gayly dressed in double decker wrappers complemented with ‘geles’ searching for satellites in space. In a twinkle, they moulted into waiters at the buttock of the huge and dark cauldrons.
Soon the men began to arrive. Some in T-shirts. Others in pencil pants, dress shirts and unplumbed bow ties. A few in rumpled jackets that have seen better days.
In joyance, with large print weather-beaten bibles under sweating armpits, they sing Christmas carols as they slogged to the Place.
Then, they take their seats in scattered booths, locked in animated discussions. Bibles carefully placed on the bench, just by their bums, they wait longingly for their magic portions. The women sweltering, flap their wrappers to aerate themselves and dish the orders in the searing heat of the harmattan sun.
Soon, bowls of calabash filled to the brim with freshly brewed burukutu are passed around. A solemn spread of hands over the mud-coloured liquor, perhaps in silent prayers to the god of drunkenness, declares the bout open.
Sounds of carols give way to incoherent blabbing about the turbulence of life, English Premier League matches and state of the nation.
Again, the women
They take a break to inspect their customers drinking themselves into a stupor, hoping all the same, that they would talk less, drink a bit faster and place more orders or talk more, stay longer and place more orders. A dilemma that always resolves itself as if by nature.
“Za oza” place which stinks.
From the various booths, the men zigzag towards za-oza place by the fence of an unfortunate church. A bold sign on the wall says, “IN THE NAME OF GOD, DO NOT URINATE HERE PLEASE” but planted on the ground is another sign “POLICE ORDER”.
But the inebriated, sight and mind impaired line up in their shooting range, blissfully unaware of any warnings, God or man made. Not a worry in the world. God is abundant in his mercy and the police is a friend.
Again, the bystander.
Still waiting for HER ride, SHE watches in amazement how people come to the Strait of Burukutu straight from church.
Then HER ride came. SHE got up and noticed SHE was slightly woozy. Second-hand drinking from burukutu revellers’ pee-mist? Oh well, no one knows.
But at HER church, SHE danced as never before like a mammy water priestess and everyone gave glory to God that SHE was in the spirit. But, which spirit? Who really cares?