A humourous fictional look at life in the ghetto. Cast positivity on hardship and hardship becomes sweet. (short story)

“May he fall off the bridge and break his knee,” they are probably mumbling, “why would one walk past such good vegetables, just to save five Kwacha? “

 My mind would then wander on as I cautiously win my way through the tattered paper bags that litter my way. With the evil women’s thoughts aboard my clear mind, I cautiously climb down the hill towards the bridge.

The so called bridge is really just two logs running parallel across the river with sticks flung clumsily across the logs for people to step on, barely keeping them from sinking in as one would in quicksand. Under the two logs, a small stream meanders among the rocks.

The water is green as if there is a Chlorophyll factory upstream, but it is just the collection of urine from bogus and porous sewers, used oil, grease from washing bodies and fertilizer from the maize fields that line the stream.

The smell is nearly pleasant at first, it hits you as cooking potatoes and then the real nastiness comes, revealing to the nose buds every smell in the smell: the urine, the oil, the rotting frogs and their unhatched dead eggs and the decaying branches that lie on the riverbed.

I would cut airflow to the lungs as I balanced my way on the two logs and step on the other side, then let in a big breathe of air to feed the empty lungs,  regrettably the gulp of air is also full of the detested smell.

It must be something with my uptown nose because a look downstream shows women washing in the water, children somersaulting into it and some drawing it for home use. I would then visualize green rice made from it, what dish would that be? ‘Rice on the pollutants?’

Soon after the bridge I would be ready to enter the market, but not before passing the refuse dump at the market gate where shabby and shaggy members of society sift for what is good in what the rest have termed garbage.  Sugarcane, wood chips, metal bits and plates, torn sacks and rotten tomatoes. Why did they not sell the tomatoes at discount than to lose it to bacteria?

Different people ooze in and out of the market. Men holding hands, men in skirts and in women shoes, men looking like they have no shaving money, men that overdid the shaving with heads cleaner than buttocks, men with red eyes and men sucking on sugarcane. If there was a statistician at the gate, the mode would fall on men sucking on sugarcane.

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