New kombi slogans spotted recently:
“God is in”
“It’s a long walk”
“Poor man’s friend”
The robots take a long time to change at the Nazarene Junction of the main road from Manzini to Mbabane. En route to the clinic one morning, we pulled up to the traffic lights just as it turned red. A red light in Swaziland does not indicate stop. It means, “Go on, then, just a few more.” But our MSF drivers obey the Highway Code and we duly stopped. A kombi drove up next to us and the driver got out of the vehicle, threaded his way through a couple of lanes of traffic, and walked a few paces onto a piece of waste ground. He unzipped his fly and started to pass urine.
This wasn’t just a quickie. It went on for about a minute. The nurse said, “It must be the first of the day for him. Always a long one.” He didn’t have prostate trouble, either. His stream was impressively strong. All of us in the vehicle were watching him intently. We were mesmerised. Was he going to finish before the lights changed, we wondered? Could he shake the drops off before the traffic moved off?
It was easy, never in doubt. He nonchalantly strolled back through the queues of vehicles, casually zipping up his fly on the way, totally indifferent to the stares of his captive audience. He opened the door, and swung into his seat, with at least ten seconds to spare before the traffic light turned green. Perfect timing, wonderful control. But, to parody Bob Dylan, “If you gotta go, go now…’cos the lights they are a-changing”.
Passing urine is one thing, but what about the other? I read an article in the Swaziland Observer which described how Nigerians dealt with the problem of public poopers. They add dried chilli peppers to the desiccated faeces and set the shit alight. This apparently causes the distant anus of the perpetrator to burn painfully, wherever they are. Works a treat.
Yesterday afternoon, while waiting outside the clinic for the vehicle to take the staff back to Manzini, I spotted a flatbed truck stacked with a load of toilet closets. Quick as a flash, I said, “Ah, it’s Toilets on Tour, a real bowel movement.” The staff of the ART clinic don’t always understand my humour. A nurse looked at me quizzically and asked, “Do you mean the mobile toilets, docotela? There must be a big funeral somewhere tomorrow.”