Friday the 13th. Lucky for Some?

We had an accident on Friday. One that was waiting to happen.

A bodaboda – the name we use to describe the motorbike taxis that roar around like bees, engines buzzing frenetically; swarms of these bikes have been let loose on our populations courtesy of the Chinese because they’re so cheap – collided with us as we turned right into the bank. Essentially our fault – we were on his side of the road, but he wouldn’t have been there yet had he not charged over the brow of the hill doing 100 klm an hour in a fifty. His bike hit my side of the car with a resounding crash. 

Mercifully, thank god, the rider was almost unharmed and his bike virtually unscathed – our car took all the impact judging by the damage. We scooped the rider up and drove him to hospital immediately to be assessed. Looking a little lost – and shaken – as we waited, a gentleman in the hospital approached us. His name was Bonny, he said, could he helped. We explained and he sympathised with our experience, ‘The bodabodas are all crazy’, he said, ‘they go too fast’. They are, on average, involved in half a dozen accidents a month in our small village alone, he tell us. In the large nearby district hospital, there are wards nicknamed the Toyo Wards, after the make of cheap bikes that most of these, usually, young men come to grief on as they roar about helmet less carrying passengers – sometimes four at a time, none wearing safety headgear, often a baby cupped between them, sometimes even a goat. 

Bonny, I noticed, who insisted on taking me on a tour of the clearly quite new hospital, walked with a slow, careful shuffle, slow for a relatively young man. He too, he explained, had had a car accident. ‘I was in hospital for six months’, he told me. He was allowed back to work, as a physio, on the proviso he was accompanied by his wife, Restituta, whom I met and who tailed him like a shadow, ‘I look after him’, she told me simply.
Bonny also introduces me to the resident social worker. A noble profession, I observe. He thanks me and wants to know what brings me here today. I explain, ‘we had a collision with a bodaboda, we bought the rider in to be checked over’. Ah, he says, you have done me a favour, you have done my job, ‘usually’, he continues, ‘drivers who are involved in accidents with bodabodas hit and run, ‘it’s up to me to try to find them and bring them to justice’.  I want to know how he does that, ‘I ask a lot of questions in the village’, he says to try to identify the drivers, ‘it would be easy with you, though’, he says, ‘if you had run away: you are white!” And he roars with laughter.

Later husband observes sagely – ‘Friday the 13th, should have stayed at home’. We were unlucky. The bodaboda was unlucky. But we were also lucky – it could have been so much worse. And I met Bonny and Restituta. And that was a small gift in a tricky day.

There is a gentle water buck that has begun to show in the garden. She slips in quietly from the bush that scrambles at the edge of my lawn and daintily grazes. We wonder why – she must have lost her herd, observes husband, ‘she is lonely’, so she is seeking company with us – a motley crew of humans and domestic animals. My black lab, Jip, observes her from the sitting room – where I hold her with restraining hand upon her collar – with a mixture of fear and suspicion and longing: the bushbuck is much bigger than her, should she be afraid, perhaps, of this trespassing stranger (‘and what’s she doing in my garden anyway?’ Jip’s puzzled expressions seems to say). But how she’d long to play with her though. The cat, with typical feline superiority, imagines he has the wherewithal to stalk the antelope.

So he does. And he looks ridiculous.

4 Responses to “Friday the 13th. Lucky for Some?”

  1. Daryl Lloyd Says:

    Cats do have a wonderful audacity to assume that hunting any animal, of whatever size, is perfectly possible.

    We have a 10 week old kitten. She spends a significant proportion of her time stalking and pouncing on our cocker spaniel. The dog, for some reason, just puts up with it. (I expect this is because he’s worried that if he challenges her and she stands her ground he will then be completely stuck with what to do next and will forever be below the cat in the pecking order…)

    But a waterbuck is a whole different proposition! Good luck with his hunting…

  2. Ursula in Cádiz Says:

    Lucky for us: you’re back! We miss you when you’re not here.
    Glad to hear from you and know that you are therefore well (-ish, in these troubled times).
    Sending admiration to you and that magnificent bushbuck, from Spain.

  3. Jackie Brice-Bennett Says:

    My favourite relic of colonial times, the Memsahib  is back!  Yaay! But pole also! I haven’t read it all yet, but I know that “accident waiting to happen” feeling. Road journeys are heart in mouth all the time nowadays. See you soon. Jxx

  4. Leilani Weatherington Says:

    One of the most hilarious sights we ever saw from our window was our not-too-bright cat stalking a big white-tailed deer in our yard.

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