Last week was the week for driving. I spent 3 full days on the road.
And along the road you see some bizarre sights: Trucks overloaded with sacks of goodness knows what, and on top of that, piled with people. Women carrying ridiculous amounts of firewood on their heads, jerricans of water in their hands and babies on their backs. Cars stuck in the thickest of mud where they will no doubt stay until the sun shines enough to dry it all up.
And soon the absurd becomes normal. What once would have made me laugh, question or at least pass a comment, no longer attracts my attention. It’s just another sight along the way.
So we were travelling behind this motorbike for quite a while before I really noticed what (or rather who?) he was carrying. I saw a blue plastic chair strapped precariously to the back of the bike. Nothing unusual there. But then I noticed some legs dangling from the chair. And I said to my colleague ‘my goodness, there’s a person sat on that chair.’ And she said ‘yes. I think he’s dead’. And I didn’t quite know what to respond. I looked as we overtook the bike. Indeed, there was a dead person strapped into the blue plastic chair, strapped onto the back of the motorbike. They were covered in a kitenge and a sack tied over their head. But the legs were dangling free.
I didn’t really know what to think as we passed that corpse being transported in this peculiar fashion. The sight, though sad, was also rather comical and I had to suppress a smile. I eventually mused to my colleague, ‘You do see some strange things on the road here, don’t you?’. To which she simply replied ‘yes. You do.’
I wonder who that person was. Had their death been sudden? Had it been expected? What had they done in their life? Had they been happy? What impact had they had on the world around them? What will their friends, community, family remember them for?
Another soul, another life, another death.