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The nightmare of hiking on 'Mushikashika' vehicles

29 May 2023 at 01:12hrs | Views
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The alarm sound from my comms gadget wrenched me from the dream world. It's 3:30 am, time to get ready if one wants to board 'mushikashika' commuter cars, the first stage hiking to Harare.
Our area is 7 kms from the main tarred road that links Harare to Centenary, big busses and kombis were haunted out of the lucrative route by the 'no rules no fear' mushikashika cars.
It's still pitch black out there, no sign of dawn. Walked about 400 meters to the pick up point at Chinehasha Shopping Centre amid nocturnal sounds. Roosters crowing, owls hooting and some distant fervent singing from a church gathering on night virgil.
Another soul was already silhouetted at the pickup point, courtesy of a tower light gifted to the nearby clinic by a good Samaritan.
Time does not fly for those who wait, one hour seems eternity. A droning sound and unfocused beam of light signalled the arrival of one Honda Fit. We were now five, three educators and us as a couple.
The burly driver 'popped' out of the already full car, mumbling 'vabereki tinokwana tese' as we milled around evaluating his words.
In no time everyone was inside, magic indeed. Sounds of agony from the crammed human cargo and the over-burdened suspension made a scary collaboration as we hit the road.
Ten passengers plus the 'pilot', the car surged ahead showing little respect for the scarred road that now looks much like a potato field.
Sunlight found us negotiating a dangerous bridge at Nyahoko river, everyone looked down solemnly, probably in prayer for safe passage.
Climbing the rising gradient after the river was no walk in the park, the FIT laboured, coughed and shook as if under mechanical epileptic seizure.
Ebenezer, we reached the highway and everyone sighed relief. We were four in the front seat with the rest slotted at the back and the lagguge compartment.
Disembarking at Nzvimbo Growth Point, we all looked dusty much like just unearthed sweet potatoes. As we dusted ourselves one would be forgiven to think we were nyau-dancers.
I persuaded my wife to leave mushikashika and wait for the big bus but she would have none of that we had to be in Harare pronto.
Again we were in another seemingly lifeless FIT save for the asthmatic sounding engine. The dreadlocked riff-raff driver quickly took off, one hand on the wheel with the other dutifully raising to the mouth a plastic bottle of undiluted 'kambwa'.
Drunkenness showed in his 'sentinel' red eyes, again we made silent prayers for divine intervention.
Thank God we got to Glendale and got dropped for the last lap to Harare. Waiting for choice vehicles was no option, we boarded a kombi with a 'thieving' conductor who almost argued hoarse in futile attempt to hold onto our change. Shame on him.
Well, again Ebenezer we were in Harare on time. Our hosts drove us back for the return journey, good people indeed. May the good Lord replenish their coffers.

Source - TT Murisa Chinehasha
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