Saturday, July 17, 2010

Piki ride #128, July 15

I really don’t know how many piki rides I have taken, but it seemed like a good title. And believe me, they look nothing like this.

On the way back from language the other day, I told my driver, Jack, I needed to go to town to the market. I asked him if he could drop me by the house, let me drop off my books, get a market bag, and then take me into town.

He said, “Yeah.”

I then said, “It looks a little like it might rain. Maybe I will wait until tomorrow.”

This same “weather forecaster” that predicted so wrongly the other day said, “You decide. But it will not rain until 6 or 7 tonight.”

He said it VERY confidently, and for some reason, I believed him.

I got my bag, and off we went. I needed to buy a LOT of tomatoes to make salsa because my garden has stopped producing for the moment.

I purchased some other things like bell peppers, onions, carrots, and garlic, and then, while I was buying 65 tomatoes for $2.50 (good price, huh?), the rain started.

I just smiled to myself and walked out of the market. Why, oh, why did I trust Jack again?

I stopped by a duka (a very small tin shed that sells a variety of items) to get bread and then I went to the chapatti stand (there are men who cook chapattis all day long, and they sell for cheap and are SO good) and got 15 chapattis from Lawrence (pretty sad, I know his name, right?).

Lawrence suggested I cross the street and wait under the awning of a better structure until the rain quit. I wasn’t afraid of getting wet, but as I looked around, I saw that the piki stop had been abandoned for the rain, and I couldn’t get a ride home anyway.

God had placed me right across the street from Moley’s store. I had met her July 4th at that “going away party” that we sat at for 6 hours. Remember? She is one of the “phone numbers” I had gotten, and I have visited her twice in town already.

She was delighted to see me, and went out of her way to make a seat for me. We talked while a lady next to me sifted through white ants (the termites with wings that they like to eat). It had rained the day before, and the nationals get so excited because the termites come out. She had just bought a kilo for herself and was picking out things that “didn’t belong.”

They have a different idea of what doesn’t belong. It’s funny, but I would have been picking out the white ants!

Let me cut out some of this story, and get to the point.

The rain stopped, and I walked back across the street to the piki stop, and a man approached me and asked me if I wanted a ride. I told him in Lugbara that I needed to go home, and I told him where I lived.

He was so pleased that I spoke Lugbara, that he laughed and laughed with joy. He became quite a talker after that. He was so proud of the fact that he has been a piki driver for 10 years!

After 2 minutes, it was raining again. He asked if I needed to stop, but I told him the rain didn’t bother me. Again, he said, “This is my job. Rain is my job. I can drive anytime. I’ve been doing this for 10 years.”

We were almost home when he said, “Next time you come to the market, you find me there. I will take you home and teach you more Lugbara while we ride.”

Then, three-fourths of a mile before my home, I heard a click in his engine. It went silent.

This is not really a big deal. This happens all the time. Really.

EVERY time you are on a piki, and you are going down a hill, the driver cuts off his motor and coasts to save fuel. When the hill levels out, they fire up the engine again.

But this time, the driver muttered something.

I finally heard it.

“No fuel.”


“The fuel is finished.”

I wanted to scream, “Are you kidding me? You’ve been driving for TEN years, and you can’t remember when it’s time to put fuel in your motorcycle?”

He tried to start it again, and then he just laughed.

I said I would walk from there, and he started walking a different direction with his bike quite a ways to fuel station.

My market bag was heavy! If that guy EVER thinks I’m going to ask him for a ride just to practice language again, he is sorely mistaken.

There ends the saga of Piki ride #128 (or some number like that)!

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