Two years later, nothing has changed. If anything, the situation has gotten worse.
There are two things I fear most, more than anything in the whole world. Being permanently removed from my children when they are still this young terrifies me.
If that happens, and heavens forbid, that I should die prematurely, and I know we all going to kick that bucket at some point, I can only pray that I will not be one of folks who don’t voluntarily ‘close’ their eyes after they breathe their last. You know, people with unresolved issues, people with stacks of money hidden under mattresses.
My second, well, I am still unsettled by soldiers. Yes, even after so many years, I still cannot get used to this one. Now last week something very interesting happened. A friend, still recalling my 2014 write up about this same topic invited me to the barracks for a graduation of officers dubbed as ‘Commissioning of Officer cadets’ at the SSKB barracks.
I am already two weeks into my end of year leave and I have time to spare, so I happily accepted the invite. My friend assured me that this experience would ‘heal’ my phobia as he so gently put it, also make me realise that these guys are actually very harmless and friendly. I was once told the same thing about a neighbour’s Bull terrier; well I have a nasty scar on my left foot to show for it!
So Thursday morning came, the day of this event. I woke up and got ready. By 8am I was already out of my house. Now I have this bad habit of always arriving ‘fashionably late’ for events but this was one, I was not willing to take a chance. I had been informed that everyone was expected to be seated by 08:30 am and I was determined to do just that. Worse, the President was going to be in attendance, so that meant I really had to be on time.
Off I went. It was drizzling a bit. The friend called to remind me that they had already arrived, then advised me to bring an umbrella.
Looking at my clock, I decided I would rather risk the rain than a run-in with these guys, so off I went minus an umbrella. I was outside the SSKB gates just 15 minutes before 08:30am, the start of my troubles! I have been to this
I stopped, just when I was about to greet this armed-to-the-tooth soldier, he beat me to it and greeted me first. Without even waiting for my greetings, he immediately asked what my business was. I mumbled something to the effect that I was attending ‘commissioning parade or something’ and he then instructed me to proceed straight until I reached the venue. He also mentioned three more gates I would go through until I reached the venue. I took off, and then my car stalled!
Minutes later, I was at another manned gate, well actually this wasn’t even a gate, just a security checkpoint, or whatever they call it.
There, I met another very tall and very serious looking guy. Like the first he was also dressed in camouflage, only this one was more menacing, it didn’t help that he was dripping wet. Same drill, they always rush to speak first.
He directed me on, pointed and went ‘ota kopana le ba bangwe ko pele gone koo!”. Off I went and sure enough, two or so minutes later I was at the next gate. Same exchange. This one then pointed to a nearby bush with the simple instruction ‘tsena gone hoo ota bona gore o blocka mang!’. No questions, I followed his instructions, no questions asked.
Moments later, after walking for what seemed like eternity and dripping wet, I arrived at the venue. The start of a nightmare. Civilians, as they call us, were already seated in two tents and the only people moving around were soldiers, so many they made my head spin, every single one of them with a serious stern face.
I will continue this long story early next year. For now, all I am going to say is, the most handsome (but dangerous) men in the country are closed up at barracks and this is not fair.