29 Mar

I cycled to Masvingo and couldn’t find a decent place to stay. And my phone wasn’t working. There was a guy nearby, standing on his own by the toilets in a campsite with no camping going on but plenty of people sitting in cars. I asked him if he could help me with my phone. I needed to call another campsite, find somewhere else.

“Would you care if I said you could stay at my place?”
“Where do you live?” Was my first response. How rude is that. Was I that tired? I realised I had been rude when I decided I could trust Mthupa. Mthupa, on the other hand, gave no sign of being offended. I met him at a crossroads in the dark at 6.45pm and rode behind his Renault for a couple of kilometers to his house.

At his house his wife and sister in law heated some water in a bucket for me to wash. Then they made me rice and curry and orange squash, and by the time they were putting on the tea I was saying it was time for me to sleep. Feeling like that was quite anti-social of me in the circumstances, I didn’t regret it when they set me up in a room of my own with a double bed.

At 7am Mthupa woke me and told me he was going to work and could I also leave, please. I jumped out of bed and had my s— together in 5 minutes. Just as I was wheeling the bike out Mthupa’s wife offered me breakfast. I looked at Mthupa, who seemed unable to leave for work without me, and grinned and said yes please. We sat and had toast and coffee. And then Mthupa’s wife left the room.

Just as I was getting up to leave she returned with a digital camera and handed it to me. I didn’t know how to react. I tried to say it was too much, but it all seemed so pointless when facing Mthupa’s wife, a big, intelligent and strong character. She insisted and I thanked them effusively. Even pathetically. I don’t know. I was humbled. How generous are these two compared to me!


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