I remember leaving home for the first time. I was scared and excited. I had finished writing “A” level, and in my country soon after writing “A” level, you either go to university, get into apprenticeship or look for a job. I decided to look for a job whilst I waited for the local Zimbabwean universities to start admitting first year students. My parents were unbelievably excited and made very many preparations for me. Being a lazy person (I eventually changed. I’m not lazy anymore), I ignored most of the advice that they gave me that included carrying heavy things – something that I would soon regret.
I left my hometown for a remote place in Zimbabwe. Absolutely nobody knew about that place so I had no idea what was in store. I got into a kombi (if you don’t know what that means then try visualizing the watered down version of a mini bus. A very unpleasant “mini bus”) and prepared to go to my place of work. I was going to work at some institution as a data entry clerk. After a very long journey in which I met a very nice chap called Eddie (all the guys called Eddie that I’ve met seem to be nice fellows) I finally reached my destination. The room had a few beds and mattresses. It had no mops, no stoves, and I don’t even think there was a light. It was rather clean though. I had two roommates and these were a man who was in his 40s and another young chap who looked about 5 years older than me.
The network coverage in that place was so poor. It was so poor that even making calls that do not use any data at all was a huge challenge. Fortunately for me, I had another SIM card from another service provider. I switched lines, and the performance got a lot better. It was actually OK. I had carried my stove (more of my parents completely refused to let me leave it behind) and I was glad I had done that. I also had one pot. I did not have much food and we ended up sharing resources. We went to buy supplies and were utterly disappointed. The only shop that was open had no salt. NO SALT! Like Whaaaaaat? It was shocking. “I must have carried the basics” I told myself. We got ourselves some bread which later made us sick and led to us spending the greater part of the day relieving ourselves. The bread was rotten. I should have noticed. After the meal, we got to know each other and I charged my phone. Imagine if I had forgotten my charger! Where would I get another one? Definitely not in this place that had just two shops, with the only one open having no salt.
It was time to sleep. I did not have a proper blanket. The chap who was slightly older than me stared at me as I tried to spread my bed. I pretended not to notice. He then came over and gave me a proper blanket. He said he really wanted to see what I wanted to do and realized that I didn’t have any plan at all. I was to report for duty on 1 April. It was a Thursday. The plan was to go home for the Easter holiday that would start the following day. I discovered that I didn’t have enough money for a round trip after buying the many things that I should’ve just carried from home. I was going to be stuck in this place till month end. What an experience.
Another experience similar to this was when I went for attachment (internship). I was supposed to work at some remote place between two cities (actually, one is a city and another is a town). I did my research and a very kind soul told me that you could live in one city as the company would ferry us from the city to work, and from work to the city everyday. My parents once again insisted that I carry a lot of stuff, but I being the lazy guy (who changed yes I’m not lazy anymore) decided to ignore most of their advice. I did not carry a stove. I did not carry a bucket. I did not carry a mattress. And once again, I didn’t carry proper blankets. I arrived at my new home. I was given a room. It only had a calendar in it. No bed. What a bummer. I put up the lace curtain as well as the curtain. I then looked at the floor and wondered how I was going to make a bed magically appear from nowhere. I asked the landlord for a bed and that didn’t work. I then accepted my fate. I was going to sleep on the floor. I spread my sleeping bag, and the extra curtain and made myself a nice “mattress.” Sleeping was rather hard because the makeshift bed was not comfortable at all. To address this issue, I would watch movies and distract myself until I got really sleepy. Sleeping wasn’t a problem anymore.
I had no stove so I would eat bread and drink. At least I had agreed to take a bit of drink with me. I was also grateful that I had brought a plate with me. I had no bucket and would use the landlord’s bucket for bathing and for doing my laundry. As they say, experience is the best teacher. I learnt a lot from this rather unpleasant experience.
To summarize this article:
Do not be lazy
Carry a stove with you. Most portable stoves are quite lightweight
Do your research before travelling. Find out more about the place you are going to
Blankets are very nice. A mattress is too!
Check the mobile network coverage (and other things such as whether or not there is a stable internet connection there)
This brings us to the end of our first nano-series. I hope you enjoyed the article. I certainly enjoyed typing it. Feel free to share your comments in the comments section. If you don’t feel like commenting then head over to twitter and follow me @maputiatota. If you don’t feel like commenting or following me then give me a million dollars. If you don’t want to do any of the above then you deserve to be on Tik Tok (that’s the digital version of hell).
P.S. That’s a joke
END OF SERIES ONE