SOME distant years ago when I taught English and French at some remote school in the North Western Province and was still young enough to play football in the district teachers’ team which we proudly christened Chalkers Football Club or Chalkers FC, when not just priding ourselves as the Chalkers, I had that day opted to play in goal as opposed to my goal scoring position as central attacker.
I was best known for my goal scoring exploits for the ‘chalk breakers’ than goal stopping, which was just that way because they didn’t know that while at school, I was the first choice goalie for our school’s Senior 11.
On the Saturday afternoon, there were large crowds from within the Boma as we called the small town, as well as those from nearby villages.
When last weekend we surprisingly beat the hitherto unbeaten Zesco FC, we won over a lot of support as the team that would most likely beat Zambarara United the notorious team of prison inmates who were equally unbeaten but largely because they tended to be rough in their play, and unruly and argumentative over almost every referee’s decision that went against them.
They simply outmuscled you, out-argued you and intimidated everyone into fearing for not just their legs but even necks, jaws, buttocks, name any part of your body as some of their reckless tackles went that high!
They were known to chase referees all over the place if he bothered to red-card any of their players!
I strategically opted to play in goal for fear of the Zambarara guys tearing off one of my limbs.
It indeed turned out to be a thriller of a match, with all our pupils and everyone who was neither a prison guard nor prisoner roaring us on.
Every neutral was anti Zambarara. On the day, team mates like Shaun Kazhila, Tom Kabwe, Etrice Hamavwa and Patrick Chewe somehow found such sweet rhythm in midfield and upfront they ran so any rings around the jail birds even as I watched from the goal which I guarded, I was reminded of the neat passing game of Mighty Mufulira Wanderers of yesteryear.
Not that Zambarara didn’t have a good game albeit in their coarse style!
They did as usual muscle their way upfront but whenever they shot on goal, I was, like my colleagues infield, in fantastic form.
A lot of people were shocked to see me stop sitters as well as diving (needlessly) and creating such a spectacle to watch!
In those days, it was fashionable for goalies to do that!
Though game ended without any goals, the spectators had had a pleasant afternoon of entertainment, especially seeing Zambarara tossed about by a strangely stylish Chalkers, and would now go off and drink their alcohol, and afterwards or as part of the drinking game, as was the case in that small place, fornicate or commit adultery all over the place.
Those people, I tell you! You would think their lives depended on fornication and adultery the way they went relentlessly about it!
I was walking off the pitch with so many fans milling around me, especially our pupils when I noticed a fat, black little girl, definitely not a pupil, and not from the Boma staring at me!
She wasn’t the tidiest looking thing but the roundness of her buttocks caused me to take a second look.
She smiled when she noticed that I had noticed her. I ignored her and went on enjoying the limelight I had gained.
I went with the other guys into the staff room and changed from the soccer attire, congratulated each other with team mates, and agreed that after bathing, we should also go and enjoy a beer at the social club.
Of course a number of us were not too different from the locals. We would drink and also fornicate or even get a rung lower into immorality by bedding other people’s wives, especially those whose men tended not to watch out that someone might be eyeing their wives, or that their wives might be hungering after us young teachers.
We were a superior breed, you know, compared to the likes of the man nicknamed Ba Engine, that spent their working lives just switching on and off the generator that caused water to be supplied to the Boma, or those that transported mail from one tray in some office to another and later went to buy Coca Cola for the boss.
We were a far better species than those police officers and prison warders, and even the Catholic Fathers who were also known to become voracious and eat some of the women from the local congregation.
As I headed home to a section of the Boma known as ku ma Rentals, I found the fat, black untidy little girl standing rather expectantly by the road.
As I got closer, and with no one else to attract my attention, I noticed that she was not a girl, as such.
She could well have been 20 or above in spite of her baby looks. When I got near her, she extended her right hand as if she meant to greet me.
“This is for you, Ba sir,” she said placing a worn out K5 note in my hand.
I was so surprised but much as my true feeling was to turn down the offer of cash from a simple village girl, who if anything should be receiving money from me, I was too polite to do that.
“Thank you,” I answered quickly putting the cash away. It was so dirty I felt uncomfortable handling it.
“What should I do with this money?”
“It’s yours, Ba sir,” she responded with such innocence. “You can do whatever you want with it.”
I thanked her again, asked where she lived and as I had suspected, she hailed from some nearby village from whose direction you heard vicious drumbeating on most nights.
The folks in that village were so given to beating drums and dancing to their local traditional dances as they drank honey beer and as I suppose, when they fornicated, like their relatives in the Boma, in the shrubs by the dark of night. Those people, I tell you, no, no, no!
I went off to my house and never turned to look behind again. She had a decent backside but come on, man, that was not the standard teachers like myself were expected to interest themselves in!
The following day, which was a Sunday, and after having drunk quite a lot of warm Mosi Lager at the social club the previous night, I overslept in part to deal with the hangover that gave me such a pounding headache.
I got out of bed mid-morning and when I instinctively peeped out through the sitting room window, the village girl was standing by the roadside, directly opposite my house, loitering and casting occasional glances in the direction of my house. What the heck?
This little black mountain of sweat and dust was not waiting for me, was she?
Now, how many people had seen her standing there who might start imagining I had done unthinkable things with her?
Of course in these parts, people slept with all sorts of things, you know, so long no one was watching!
I opened the door and greeted her. She beamed with obvious excitement. I asked if she was waiting for someone.
“No Ba sir,” she answered with such self-assuredness about herself. “I just came to wash your clothes.”
“But I don’t have piece work for you,” I said in protest.
“It’s not piece work, Ba sir,” she said calmly. “I just want to help you, to do it free of charge for you Ba sir.”
I consented, even as I was getting more and more uncomfortable about being seen with little Miss “black dust and sweat”.
I had plenty of washing to be done so, why not accept some free services! I allowed her into the house, gave her the mountain of clothes, some washing powder and showed her the basin to use.
“Where is the relish?” she asked well at ease.
“I can put it on the fire so that it’s cooking while I’m washing the clothes. In fact as I wait for the clothes to dry up so that I iron them I will sweep and put Cobra in the house. It’s so dusty everywhere, Ba sir, but I understand it’s because you are a man who lives alone!”
“No,” I protested calmly, trying hard not to show my discomfort. “Just wash the clothes. I will do the rest.”
“No Ba sir,” after that football which you played yesterday, getting kicked by those ba kaili, you need to rest. I will do everything for you, Ba sir, free of charge.”
Then she picked my bath towel from among my clothes, went into the bathroom and when she returned, she had removed her dirty dress and wrapped herself in my towel. The towel was small so she revealed two fat legs that were surprisingly much lighter in complexion than her face and hands.
“I will wash my dress in the dirty water when I have finished washing your clothes,” she said as she leaned forward to pick the basin, and in the process revealing the upper part of her behind.
Now this ka woman is another, I tell you!