Charity Magazine

“I Was Thinking of Getting Myself a Muzungu,” He Said

By Diaryofamuzungu @CharlieBeau

The good Samaritan?

They must have watered down my petrol or something. I know the car needs a service but it’s almost impossible to get the car going. I rest my full body weight on the accelerator but nothing happens, nothing happens and suddenly we lurch forward, almost into the back of someone in front of me.

The engine is cold and I have to limp out of the car park straight into the rush-hour traffic. Drivers impatiently push past me. I’m getting a bit stressed as I pull out onto the roundabout, looking at the rev counter and bang!

The front right corner of the car is leaning down an angle – the front wheel is in a hole in the road. The girl driving the car next door to me smiles and says “sorry!”

How the hell am I going to get out of this with no power? Quick as you like, a Ugandan guy in an office shirt comes over to me. “We need stones in that hole to get you out of it.” He leans into the flowerbed, picks up a couple of rocks. How convenient!

Seconds later, three rough-looking street guys run over to me from different directions. I hear the word ssente(money).

They grab hold of the corner of the car and start rocking it as I put the car in low gear and try to go forward. (Hang on, I better not run the good Samaritans over). I shift into reverse and after the second push, we are out.

Expectant faces lean into the car.

“I’m going to Nakawa, can you drop me there?” Asks the first guy.

Sure, if I’m going to thank anyone, it’s the guy who was first on the scene.

I’m causing a jam and the last thing I want to do is get my purse out in the middle of the traffic jam. I’m totally skint anyway. If I can thank this guy by giving him a lift home, that’s good enough for me.

We drive off with the three street guys shouting after us.

“I thought I’d better let them think I know you so that they leave you alone. These guys can disturb you.” He says. I don’t usually let strange men in my car but, in broad daylight, it seems like a sensible enough option.

As we drive, in the opposite direction to my home, he tells me about himself and his aspirations. Needless to say, there are a couple of predictable topics.

“I’ve just come from the village. There’s a man I know who has lots of children and can’t pay school fees. He was telling me that he’s heard of some organizations that pay school fees and was asking if I could find out. Do you know of any?”

“No, I don’t,” I say, “but if he has so many children, tell your friend to use a condom next time.”

“Yes, he does but sometimes that stuff gets through and sometimes a condom breaks.”

“What, 20 times? He must be very unlucky!” I say.

He laughs. I only know of organizations that help children with HIV and AIDS. Anyway, I don’t feel like getting involved today. “I was thinking of getting myself a Muzungu,” he says.“I think one day I might go to the UK. Do you think I can find a girl there?”

“I’m sure you can find any type of girl, you just have to look when you get there. They’re very different from Ugandan girls though. You better be prepared to do half the cooking, half the cleaning, and half the childcare if you have a British girlfriend.” The young man goes silent. I don’t have the heart to tell him that he probably wouldn’t get into the UK anyway these days.

“Actually when I saw your car stuck, I saw my opportunity.”

It’s funny how even the guy who saves me from the ones who are trying to take advantage of me is also trying to take advantage. I don’t mind, he’s helped me and seems like a sweet guy but the favors and requests do feel a bit relentless at times. At least he hasn’t asked for my phone number.

“But how do we keep in touch?” He asks as I drop him at his destination.

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