AS the wind whipped my face, I decided that it was the right time to say a very silent... .and a very long prayer, telling the good Lord that in case of anything, my poor soul should belong in his safe custody.
This prayer was not brought about by the fact that I am a very religious person, but it was simply prompted by the fact that I was staring at death in the face, without blinking, I might add.
They say that most human beings when they are faced with tragedies and disasters and when they are at a point where life seems hopeless and giving up seems tempting, that is when they decide to remember God and ask... ... .nay, they plead for Him to intervene.
That day on a very cool Monday evening, I got a call which required me to dash almost 30 kilometres away on a very urgent business and with the notorious traffic jam being legendary in Dar es Salaam, I decided that the only way I could make it on time was to hire a motorcycle taxi, popularly known as 'Boda boda'.
I had about 15 minutes remaining and my roving eyes scanned for a nearby boda boda, but I found that the place where boda bodas are always in plenty was deserted. The phone in my pocket rang and I dreaded picking it up, because I had lied to the person who was waiting for me and told him that I was nearby and I knew that he was going to ask me, almost the 20th time, where I was.
I answered the phone... "Where are you right now, I hope you are about to enter," asked the man I was going to see with an impatient note and I told him that he should give me a few minutes and I was going to be there "In fact order a drink for me... " I told him.
There was no boda boda in sight, as I was contemplating taking a rickshaw (Bajaj), I saw a boda boda coming my way, and there was no passenger on it! I quickly returned my phone in my pocket and flagged to the driver, the motor bike came to a screeching, dusty stop in front of me.
I looked at the driver... .he was barely 18 years. "I am heading to town and I need to be there as soon as possible, actually I have about seven minutes remaining, do you think we can make it?" I asked the boy and he gave me a wicked grin... .my heart started racing.
He told me to jump at the back and before my bottom touched the leather seat, the machine shot off like a bat from hell and my intentions of asking for a helmet were lost. I don't know why, but within a very few short seconds at the back of the racing motorbike, the words of the song 'Just a closer walk with thee... ' started playing in my mind.
We charged through idling cars, jumped the lights, missed several pedestrians by a whisker and avoided a head collision with a massive lorry, all this within two minutes.
I told the young boy that I was in a hurry, but it was getting to my destination and not where my ancestors are, but my words were whipped away by the wind, as I stared at the hunched back of my potential messenger of death.
My heart almost forced a retirement when the boy who had a crazy look on his face by now started fumbling in his pocket, and it would have been okay had it not been for the fact that we were doing almost 100 kilometres per hour!
He found what he was looking for... ..his ringing phone and using one hand to control the charging machine, he lifted the other hand and placed the phone to his ear. "Yes boss... .yeah, I am dropping someone in town but I will be there in the next five minutes... ... .yes boss... ..I know, don't worry, make it three minutes then... ."
He said and returned the phone in his pocket. I managed to look at my watch, I saw that it was exactly two minutes after I had climbed the boda boda, which means that this boy was planning to use witchcraft to be in another place in four minutes after he had dropped me.
With my eyes closed and still doing a serious mental calculation to determine how possible that was, I realised that the motorbike had come to a stop and when I opened my eyes, I could not believe the miracle!
I was outside the hotel where I had my meeting, it took me a minute to believe that I had taken barely four minutes in a ride which in normal circumstances would have taken 20 minutes.
It was with very shaky limbs that I walked into the hotel, when I sat down, my friend looked at me and handed me a glass of water."You look like you have just seen a ghost, sit down and tell me all about it," he said.