Wednesday, 12 October 2016


If we start today’s chat with the word Vespinae, would you, instantly,  get what I am talking about? It would be wrong to suppose it is reference to the small motorbike called Vespa. Sorry, no pun intended but, Vespa is a joke compared to what Vespinae actually means. That dear friends, is the scientific name of Nyigu or Manyigu in Kiswahili. The no -nonsense insect bit me when I was a child growing on the slopes of Mount Kilimanjaro. I might have been eight or nine AND funnily, I still remember the pain. Vividly. Like it was five minutes ago. So intense that I should compare the experience to a bullet wound; which not many of would like to try out, nor imagine.

Like us humans there are several “tribes” of the hornet, including Bald Faced Hornets (USA and Canada), European Hornet and Giant Asian hornets who take pride in bright yellow colours.  Well, well, this particular Asian “tribe” has recently, been located in the UK; brought accidentally in a container of pottery from China. Already caused and causing, bedlam, chaos, fear, stress, havoc. Just a small amount of the vicious flying beasts. Not to people yet. To bees. They usually chew bees’ heads off and wipe of their hives. That is really bad news for everyone. Bees are as fundamental as water, air, transport, food, houses etc. Without bees, plants and vegetation cannot pollinate. Bad news for our natural resources and total existence, let alone honey, a crucial nutrient.
That is, dear Lord, the serious side.
On a funny note?
 Alarms often blaze loudly whenever a tropical creature or substances shuffles into the vicinity of the cold, northern hemisphere.  In such surroundings, deadly insects and animals are a disaster. It is like technology and the African environment. When new gadgets are introduced, pandemonium starts dancing. Interest, zest, keenness, eagerness, interest.
Anyway, speaking of tropical creatures, a London couple had to vacate their home when a family of deadly spiders were found in bananas bought in a local supermarket but imported from Brazil. The spiders can cause death and the couple reportedly abandoned their house because they have a baby. Authorities had to send in a super cleaning, fumigation team. The responsible supermarket wrote a formal apology to assure worried customers those vegetables and fruits are thoroughly “cleaned and checked” before being sold. Such is correct trade and business ethic. Such is Uzunguni life.
Life jogs on.

Another interesting episode several days past now was of a London police man who went berserk and smashed the car’s window of a suspicious motorist. According to media reports the young driver was mistaken for his cousin, allegedly on a watch list. The man of law told the innocent chap to get out of his vehicle but he just waved his documents through a half closed window, while videoing the drama on his (supposedly) mobile phone. The clip has gone crazy online. Published two weeks ago, the video has attracted thousands of viewers, if not a million by the time you read this.
I find this incident, rare in London, or the UK.
Police here have no reputation of being so aggressive unnecessarily, like say in the USA. They are usually cordial, polite; and do not even carry fire arms, unless specifically assigned to handle a terrorist or very highly dangerous situation. Yes there have been occasions where minority police did cause serious harm but regular excessive force is not the norm. In other words citizens tend to be wary of police but not so afraid of them like in some other well known nations.
You can see why the car smashing episode is big news and tittle-tattle.
Some people however, do not trust the police.
If you have travelled across the world - like I have done- and encountered different law enforcers you may recall which ones are safer than others. I have been in countries where police would terrorise you before even asking for ID. Once I was at an airport where the police screamed because I had hesitated answering questions. Truth is I could not hear what the officer said, as my knowledge of the language wasn’t that good, then. It was interpreted as rude. When I apologised my guitar was thrown on the floor. This would rarely happen in the UK. If it did and someone was wrong, there would be a thorough investigation. 
 My take is that if the police have a certain attitude it creates animosity with the civilians. In London police tend to be polite, courteous, professional and very patient.  Unless you have something to hide or have jumped to the other side of the law, no trouble. That is why last fortnight’s car window smash event was odd, rare and genuinely unusual.

-Published in Citizen Tanzania , Oct 2016

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