Celebrating East African Writing!
The human river is flowing naturally; here the day begins fresh, clay and breath mesh, multitudes on the street. Not only is the earth’s surface complaining of the heat from the leather and plastic boots, but the sun is also shining, clouds are lining as the winds carries “Good Morning,” over the hundreds of transistor radios.
Businesses, schools, hospitals, courts, jails, their mission as they take breakfast and in many houses sincere silent prayers. Others just sip their hot beverage having said their prayers in the wee hours of dawn.
It is 8.am in Kijenge Juu ghetto in the Republic of Tanzania.
The street has territories and being a street dog, he has marked his. He is in business, where the hunter is always the hunted. He knows well they are looking for him, but he has perfected the art of camouflage. This is a basic fundamental basic virtue for the jungle survival.
This particular day they meet at Mama Salim hotel.
“Hey guys, if you aren’t ready for the early mission, I am going alone.”
He gets out of the hotel, his eyes searching for easy prey, and takes a spot at one corner, leaning on a wall. Several minutes pass; this has been a routine for the last three years.
Juma is a nocturnal cat. The last one month has been bad because the community dreaded Sungu Sungu community policing which has interrupted the activities of the Dark dungeons.
The aroma of fried cassava arouses his sense of smell and taste, he responds by moving towards a woman frying cassava.
“Shikamoo bibi,” he greets the Mama.
“Marahaba baba,” She responds.
“Six hundred shilling cassava please.”
“Take a sit, son.”
Mama removes sizzling hot cassavas simultaneously immersing fresh ones in the boiling oil. Without hesitating Juma snatched the pulse from Mama Cassava and immediately hit the road, accelerating his speed with each stride, maneuvering the early morning human traffic.
“Mwizi! ” Mama Cassava screams.
He is used to the sprinting. His adrenaline pushes him forward as a car almost hits him. He falls on a pool of water and immediately rises up, behind him the familiar death voice cursing. A stone hits his loins, Juma rises up and takes a left turn, and in front of him a mosque – salvation reflex dawns.
He rushes towards the door like it was the finishing line. They were near, death was hovering close. He knocks the door, which opens and he falls on top of soft surface, he is followed by screams and kicks all over the body, when the rain stops pounding on his body, his clothes are soaked with blood. He lifts hand which is too heavy to lift, and wipes his face but still he can’t see anything, the noises slowly disappear.
And everything is calm.
He now hears echoes all over.
After several attempts his eyes open and he is staring at the ceiling. Everything is white. Then a voice, yes, he could see a bearded man, with a turban wiping his hand and in a white lobe.
‘My friend! You are inside a mosque; you stormed our sanctuary while the prayers were going on. The brothers have beaten you for entering the mosque with your shoes on, please remove your shoes, but there are others angry people waiting for you outside the Mosque.’
He regained half of his conscious and closed his eyes again.
© Mwas Mahugu 2009
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