The Crew is a full house today. We are gathered at this spot, top Chilobwe in Blantyre, a pub owned by our humorous friend and prospective patron, Uncle Kabalauza.
This ‘Uncle’ of honours, whose original home is somewhere around Bembeke in Dedza District, is one of the best hosts we have had. This time around, hearing that one key Crew member wants to have a breather from his work place, he has decided to feast the Crew with an ‘oversized’ chicken, grilled and roasted.
The talk this time around is centred on this fat-dude member of the Crew, who has decided to retire. Some of the Crew members are not amused that the fat-dude is relocating, and going somewhere along the lake we call Lake Malawi. Yes, the lake others call Lake Niaasa, while another ‘greedy neighbour’ calls it Lake Nyasa.
“How can a person, in his right senses, retire when he is still strong? Are you insane or you have been bewitched? Really, a smooth bodied person like you opting for relocation to the village? You think that place you call Katelera is the right place for you?” Lackson fumes, declaring that he is to undergo an emergency fasting period to pray that his fat-dude of our Crew changes his mind.
Like him, Joe, being Joe, is not amused by the idea. He feels the fat-dude has duped the Crew and deserves instant suspension.
“So you have decided to abandon us? And to make it worse, you want to take your moneys to the lakeshore district and enjoy it with others without any regard to the fact that we have stayed long as one family? Have you forgotten the times you were so block that you solely depended on us, your friends for both quenching your hangovers and other accompaniments? Tikuwonerani, tiwona ngati simukathawako kunyanjako [let’s see if you will not abandon your new Lakeshore base]!”
One after another of the Crew pour their mind. Even our guest Crew members in the name of Asiyatu and Sheena are not amused.
“So, you mean your eyes will, come March 1, be panning around another forest of the feminine folk? You mean, we are not worth to be permanent images your eyes can feast on? Mukupanga zofuna kwanu, osati zothandiza gulu!”
It is at this point that the fat-dude looked so reduced in size, tears dropping from parts of his eyes. He is even failing to respond to the speakers, maybe out of guilt or out of chickening out of the situation where he would out-right demonstrate he would miss the Crew and its membership.
And, to his rescue, comes Uncle Kabalauza. He philosophically pumps sense into the alcohol tainted brains of the Crew members.
“Guys, ladies and gentlemen, can you direct your eyes to that hill or mountain? I mean, the Soche Hill that we are all sitting almost directly under?” Kabalauza says.
And everyone is surprised about the connection between the topic of the day and the Hill.
“Can you see that, this time around, that hill has become greener and greener? Do you remember that, for the past two or more years, it was dry and had more rocks than green vegetation? Let me ask you, where is the green coming from? Have the locals now become more sensible to plant more trees and preserve shrubs? Think!” he says, to the surprise of all.
‘Atsogoleri’ Rob M breaks the ice: “Kodi kwenkweni muluti chani odala? [what exactly are you saying]?”
The host, Kabalauza, laughs and smiles, or is it the combination of both. He says: “Well, what I am trying to say is that everything has its own time, all decisions are important, depending on circumstances and situations. What is green today may be dry tomorrow, what is dry today may be green later in the week; let your friend move on, you never know where green is supposed to be green!”
And he orders two drinks for each of us in the Crew, as the chicken is also now ready.
And all members of the Crew sing: “Farewell ‘Fat-Dude’, you are going away from us physically, in spirit we are still together; and let us just say, you are going away just for a breather…you will be back in our fold!”
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