the daily dose of a certain type of chap


There is a lot to report under this category, but I will stick with the unusual yet common one; the one that stood out more than the rest, and who is very unlikely to ever interact with me, personally, again.

He was in Bunamwaya, perched atop his boda-boda and either a: doing absolutely nothing or; b) mentally solving calculus equations or; c) using his brain for anything in between a) and b).

I was a little lost, trying to get to one Dr. Mutesasira’s residence, and had been given the instruction: “Ask any boda-boda man – they all know the way.”

This fellow was, to all intents and purposes, a boda-boda man. He was sitting on a boda-boda. The boda-boda was at a ‘siteegi‘ (aka stage). I slowed down as I approached, wore that face of uncertainty coupled with politeness that we have to wear when seeking this type of help.

Boda?” I asked, having slowed to a complete halt right in front of him.

“Eeeeh!”

Oli wa wano? Are you from here?”

“Yye!”

Phew! Problem solved. I’d be at my destination shortly and out in time for my next meeting.

In Luganda, I continued:

‘Can you direct me? Do you know where Dr. Mutesasira’s place is?’

‘Hah!’

That one word, and the tone of voice he used, was confirmation enough that he did not.

But he went on anyway, “Perhaps…(Oba…)”

And he didn’t do that thing that we sometimes do of pretending to think about it, or trying to recall the directions. He just didn’t know – but that was not going to stop him trying to ‘help’.

And this is where I gave him his label.

“I think I have heard his name,” the fellow began.

“But do you know him? Do you know where he lives?”

“Hah. Maybe I know him by another name. If I see him I might find that I know him.”

We looked at each other for a moment as I hoped that what I was thinking at that time would be sinking into his mind.

Did he: a) think I was driving around trying to establish whether people on boda-bodas generally knew a Dr. Mutesasira? b) expect me to begin suggesting other names by which he might know Dr. Mutesasira, and if b) then c) how would I know which name he would know Dr. Mutesasira by? How long did he think we had to spend playing that particular guessing game? And; d) did he expect me to whip out photos of this Dr. Mutesasira so he identifies him, or to arrange a mini-identification parade?

I took my dose in full measure, thanked him and drove on.

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