BY NICHOLAS OPOLOT
I love my country so dearly that a blind man would be able to tell. My patriotism shows itself in my daily life in this heck of a city bustling with so much beehive activity.
Let me show you how. Think of the notorious traffic jams, the pungent smell of cattle headed to the city abattoir, hawkers who sometimes use obscene language to entice unsuspecting customers and a mass of diverse bodies sauntering to and fro God knows where. Indeed beauty can be found in unusual places!
Last week, I happened to be involved in this madness. I was aboard a taxi at Jinja Road junction commonly known as Bishop’s Stage. I saw this bodaboda guy ferrying his passenger at a Formula One speed.
Before I knew it, they were cornered off by another confused bodaboda cyclist proceeding into the opposite lane.
To my relief they didn’t die. Never did they get even a scratch but what really roused me was how quickly they got back up within a second and sped off like nothing had happened.
In Uganda, the bodaboda is the quickest means of transport as well as the quickest way to die owing to the recklessness involved.
Amid all this hustle and bustle, one thing stands out vividly. High flying bodaboda motorists are all over the place.
I hate these guys but for some reason I find myself restrained on the basis of the fact that my white-hot anger might be misplaced.
They are the inevitable and incurable disease called ‘boda-mania’.
Also known as the ‘authors of misfortune’ whose suicidal attempts at betrayal of their loved ones has cost the country loss of about Shs2.4 billion for treatment allocated to the Directorate of Surgery.
The Injury Control Centre reports over 7,280 cases admitted at the ‘Bajaj’ ward in Mulago Hospital yearly. The demographics clearly prove that many lives are at stake due to this sort of mess.
These folks re-enact movie scenes and do reality stunts such as flying in motion. Simply watch Fast and Furious. After my encounter, I became convinced that bodabodas have a spare life or they believe in re- incarnation after death or else it’s an intoxication of Maji Maji ‘courage’.
They make your heart jump out every time they make snaky turns at potholes and roundabouts.
There must be re-enforced logic that bullies their existence. They simply don’t care, they believe they can fly! Bodabodas are these ambitious fellas who might ambush HE the president with amateur Space exploration proposals.
These guys are hardcore hustlers who are out there to make money at all costs including overloading passengers. To simply put it, these guys are immune to insults and any other weapon formed against them.
My boda guy called Fred once joked blatantly that he actually doesn’t consider himself Ugandan.
I was amused and asked him why. “Well, it’s only my body on show but in reality the rest of my mind, soul, heart and thought live in another country,” he reasoned. “I’d rather be a boda rider than be associated with them,” he said.
That is Fred for you.