Look right – look left – look right again

Dr. Sama Banya

16 December 2012

road crossingWhoever advised that we should look right, look left , look right again and then cross the road, must have written that advice about road safety before the birth of my grandfather Kailondo.

As a matter of reality, there were no automobiles in Kailondo’s days and people like the Provincial Commissioner who opened up the Serra Leone hinterland to the British, did most tours either on foot or in hammocks, which were carried by native labourers.

The author of the above advice must have written it long before the advent of today’s most dangerous machines on the roads, the commercial motorbike popularly known as ‘OKADA’.

And so it was that last Thursday afternoon, while President Ernest Bai Koroma addressed the genuinely voted 42 Members of Parliament and the Christiana Thorpe imposed 67, one of those crazy riders nearly succeeded in removing Puawui from the surface of the earth or at best leaving him maimed for an indefinite period.

Thanks to the irregularity of the President’s promised 24 hours clean, uninterrupted and non affordable electricity, I spent a considerable amount of my time in internet cafes.

On the Thursday in question, I had just left my favourite internet café on Siaka Stevens street and attempted to cross over to the other side of the street.

As usual, I remembered my road safety advice and looked either way as was directed. I was in the process of looking right once more, when it happened in a flash.

I saw my old frame describing a short parabola before I hit the ground.

Yes, you have guessed right; an impatient okada rider with a passenger who appeared to be in more hurry than his other colleagues, apparently broke line and headed straight along the wrong side of the traffic.

That was when he picked me up. To his credit, he did not run away or perhaps he would not have been allowed to ride off as they often do.

A crowd had quickly gathered round me at the first impact, while others apparently blocked his way. I was helped to my feet and I could tell at a glance that I had not broken any limbs.

But my body felt as if it had been hit by one of Africa Minerals’ diesel locomotive engines. There were bruises on my knees and my ankles, otherwise I was ok.

In the meantime, the rider was sprawled right at my feet begging for mercy and forgiveness.

What else could I do, but to let him off with the intervention of the same crowd, which for a moment threatened to lynch him.

There we are then readers, through God’s Grace and Mercy I was able to climb into a vehicle and taken back to my own surgery, where I got a nurse in the neighbourhood to clean up and dress my wounds.

And here I am in Kenema, thankful to God that I am able to make it to the funeral of my eldest sister Kona, who passed away to eternity at the ripe age of 90. She was quite a remarkable woman in her life.

Kenema is quiet on the surface, but people are still seething with anger and frustration at another betrayal by Christiana Thorpe.

And believe me, they are talking openly about an Africa spring in the very near future.

When they are advised to stay calm and trust the leadership, their first reaction is that Maada Bio should accept no compromise.

Next they reminded me that hundreds of people had died in the Arab world in the pursuit of truth and democracy, and they would not hesitate to be the sacrificial lambs. Suddenly I felt very sickened.


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