Ride Along

Last night I took an uber at about 21:55. I usually sit in the front when I am alone but I let Karen have the co-driver’s seat as I placed my ‘luggage’ in the back. Some people feel safer at the back but I am more comfortable studying my chauffeur in this position. I digress.

Shortly after dropping off Karen, he initiated a conversation.

*Hakim*: How is work with your organisation?

Me: Which organisation?

Him: You do fundraising or something…?

Me: How did you know?
* I notice the donation boxes I placed in the car before getting in*

Oh…you saw the boxes. <Face palm> Work is good

Him: What exactly do you do?

Me: We work with vulnerable children to improve their literacy. Right now we are working in Makindye division.

He asked several other questions about how we started, what we have achieved and how we raise funds. . As we were nearing Old Kampala he said “I would also like to start paying monthly subscription, from January. I was in total awe.

‘When did my pitching skills get this good?’ I thought to myself. Just a few minutes into the ride and he wants to subscribe? It was suspicious.

He asked me about what my parents think of this decision and remarked. “If only Uganda had 100 more of you, we would be in a better place. You are so young yet you are doing so much to improve lives.” I muttered an awkward thank you and was grateful to be at the back sans eye contact.

I realise the conversation has been heavily one-sided and begin to ask him about what he does. He mentioned he owns a transport company. We had just been talking about the need to hire a car for a scheduled 4040 trip to deliver children’s books across the country at our meeting earlier. I grinned as I made a mental note.

We were now getting closer to my home and the most bizarre thing happened. Hakim began to slow down and I noticed the indicators were rightly directed towards my stop. He was off by just one house and I had not given him any directions up until this point. I told him it was the next turn and he quietly drove- then parked.

Me: Have you dropped me off before?

Hakim: *Laughs*

Me: How did you know where to turn?

Him: The GPS

Me: That is a lie. My location shows a landmark close to home, not the actual house

Him: You are a big woman, I know where you live

Me: *Freaking out a little* Please tell me you have been here before so my heart can settle

Him: Relax Esther. One day you will know

Me: I am going to spend the night trying to figure this out. I will probably not sleep. Please explain.

By this time my left leg is out of the car but the rest of my body is intact as I wait for an explanation. I was holding onto his fare, my own little ransom.

******

At about this time last month, I set off from home to make deliveries to 3 locations. Donation boxes to be placed at Karveli restaurant, Hair by Zzziwa and the Kurb. They were fragile and I opted to hire a car. When we got to destination number 2, Krishna mart mall, I got out of the co-driver’s seat to pick a box from the back seat. The driver had forgotten that I would have to pick something from the back. He reversed the car to get a good parking spot and ran over my left foot in the process. I let out a silent scream and he noticed a little too late. He yelled in disbelief, with a million apologies. Amidst my shock, I asked him to drive towards the front to free my foot which was still stuck.

What happened next stunned me as much as my small ‘audience.’ I carried the box and walked right towards the security check point. The security guards asked me if I needed help or a hospital perhaps but I just shook my head and kept walking. Even my tears froze. It is kind of funny now. *SMH*

When I got back, the driver could barely look at me. His gaze kept drifting towards my foot and I kept on repeating “I’m fine.” I got to the Kurb and asked him to end the trip. He tried to refuse the money but I wouldn’t hear of it. I kept reminding him it was an accident.

My plan was to make the last drop off and take a boda boda (motorbike) to the office. I received a phone call as I waited for management to confirm where I could place the box. It was the driver. He said he was waiting for me so that he could take me wherever I had to go. I tried to fight it but he would not budge. I gave in.

The trip was quite short but he spent it apologising and asking about my foot every 2 minutes. The pain was mild and I had so much on my mind, I had quickly moved on. I hoped he would do the same, for his own sanity.

We finally got to the office and I assured him I was okay. My friends/colleagues were equally shocked by the tale. Besides mild pain, I really was fine. No swelling or (visible) blood clot. After a couple of days, I was as good as new.

*****

“You were very kind to me after that accident in Kisementi, Hakim said. You forgot me but I can never forget you.” At this point I was utterly dumbfounded.

“I didn’t even tell my wife, nothing like that had ever happened to me. I knew that God would bring you back into my life. When you requested the uber today, it did not show your name or face but when you called, your name came up because I had saved your number to check on your foot.”

I was completely speechless. What are the odds that the same person who drove me to drop off the boxes appeared on the same day I had to take them back home, almost exactly one month later…? **&^%(@?<<!

Eerie.

In the words of Hakim “Sometimes bad things happen to you and you have no idea why but there is a reason for them. You just never know what God has planned for your future.”

I have nothing more to add. Listen to Hakim

Happy new year!

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Past joys

35
Today’s entry has come so easily.

On this day, 3 years ago; I posted this

Originally posted on 5 April.

It is the ordinary days when you get up early, run a few errands and try to make all ends meet that turn out extraordinary.
Yesterday was one of those.
At lunch time a stranger asked if he could pay for our meal (my friends and I) When he noticed my puzzled look, he simply said “Thank you for the good work you do in the community, I am 40-40.” He paid the bill and left.
We were mesmerised, to say the very least!

Later that evening, after jumping from one appointment to another-literally, I honoured an invitation to Sales pitch Night where 40-40 had a slot to speak. I arrived late, made my 5 minute pitch and joined my team at our table.

At the end of the night, it was mentioned that there had been ‘secret judges’ throughout the event and we were handed an award for “Best Pitch.”

 

The shock and elation, I can’t even explain..plus people generously donated to 4040 just based on my pitch- at very short notice!
Here I am still wowed..and amazed!
Let everyday be exciting even if it is ordinary-for God, the maker of all will add an extra to your ordinary.

Thank you Jamila for organising this event and successfully pulling it off.
40-40 team, you rock.

Bless you all.

Strange firsts

It is an unusually busy time at school. Everybody has a deadline here, a draft to submit there and of course there is the daunting task of the pending dissertation. Conversations have grown shorter and and everyone is always rushing somewhere. Linda feels the pressure and constantly looks for ways to take a breather once in a while. This morning before heading to school, she chose to visit a colleague on her floor who has been missing in action. Someone might be battling depression in their room while life continues for the others. Luckily, she found Patrick alive and well. He was in the process of making an omelette and in high spirits. They chatted for a while and she said her goodbyes just before it got awkward. “Do I offer her my omelette? Do I make her another? Wait, I am out of eggs…, how does this work?” and other such mind boggling questions.

When Linda realised she was running out of time. She considered using the tube (underground train) which is much faster, or settling for the slower paced, and considerably cheaper, bus option. She settled for the latter and would later be strangely satisfied with this decision. She got onto the bus and immediately went upstairs for it presented a better view of London. Even if she kept seeing the same sites on this route, it was still better than the cold, mostly unfriendly, tube rides. It wasn’t long before a foul smell hit her. She noticed the further she walked, the worse it got so she settled for another seat. One lady whose first language was probably not English exclaimed “smell!” and Linda nodded. She left. Linda waited for the next stop so she could also move downstairs.She thought the bus would stop for a while but it started without warning and then ‘walala!,‘ she ‘flew from the first step to the bottom and hit herself hard on the ‘wall.’ For a second, she didn’t know what had just happened. Breathe.Stay calm. Get up. Thankfully, she only hit her body so the head was ‘safe.’ A gentleman by the steps asked her if she was alright, and went on to talk about how dangerous those stairs were <“Is he really talking to me?”, she kept asking herself>
After all the cold stares, and false smiles she’d grown accustomed to in London, a short conversation with a stranger was definitely something to write home about. When she thought people had ‘forgotten’ about the loud thump, she walked over to a lady who had a free seat next to her “Do you mind?,” Linda asked and the lady moved. “Did you hurt yourself?,” she asked, concerned. Twice in one day? Something strange was certainly going on.

The bus was quiet again until a lady *not Mzungu* who’d only just got in stormed towards the bus driver “There is a terrible smell in this bus and I want to get out, now!,” she yelled. The poor old man got up and walked around the bus. H explained that he had a cold and as a result could not smell anything. She asked for a ‘new’ ticket and said she’d get on another bus immediately. He obliged. Now that they could ‘openly’ talk about it. The sweet old lady in front of Linda remarked, “I can’t smell anything.” Sweet old lady on the right responded “You are lucky.” Linda went on to explain that it was much worse at the top and that is why she had moved. Sweet old lady number 1 was so giddy. “I am having a lovely morning, people are usually so mean and angry, I am just glad we can all get to talk.” Linda’s sentiments exactly. She told her ‘new friends’ how she dropped her grand daughter at school three times a week and always found people to be in too much of a hurry. “They are texting and knocking everyone without even looking up,” she complained. She turned to Linda and masked a whisper “I always tell my Bell to wiggle her legs in the stroller and when they look up I’ll say, Sorry I guess you didn’t see us coming.” This naughty Jajja was too sharp 😀 The two old ladies realised they were both going till the last stop and would have to withstand the smell Linda was almost at her destination. “Is anyone still at the top?, old lady number 2 asked. As if on cue, a gentleman and a lady walked down looking disgusted. “It’s the smell, isn’t it?” she asked. They replied in the affirmative. It is a wonder they had stayed that long. The debate began on if it was urine or the smell of a corpse. *It seems imaginations run wild in places were people rarely talk to each other*

Google image

Google image

Linda had actually began to enjoy this random kaboozi, in a random setting with even more random participants. When she got to her stop, she wished them a good day just as sweet old lady number one called out to her “We can see you are running away!”