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Pick up trucks

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In the US of A where I hail from, seeing a pick up truck on the road generates several stereotypical thoughts about the people in the truck.  Likely they’re from a small town, perhaps farmers.  Or they might be contractors or construction workers, and sometimes they’re put in the category of beer drinking rednecks.  If a woman is driving and she’s not the truck owner’s wife, then there’s a good chance she’s a lesbian.  People are quick to put the stereotypes aside when moving residences because in that situation anyone with a pick up truck is your new best friend.

In Zimbabwe, or rather I should say in the urban hub Harare, pick up trucks are more common than any urban hub in the US.  Of late, I’ve been looking carefully at the people in pick up trucks in Harare.  And in nearly all cases, the sights pain me.  The intersection of Sam Nujoma and Herbert Chitepo is full of pick up trucks with people spilling out of the back side.  The passengers have sad faces. Likely the professionally dressed men and women are thinking:  What happened?  I used to drive my own car to/from work.  Now everyday I stand with 1000s of other people at this intersection and hope a kind pick up truck driver will stop right at the spot I’m standing so that I can beat the crowd and jump in.  If the driver stops 10 meters either side of where I’m standing I will miss my chance; therefore, I will curse that truck and pray to God the next driver receives my telepathic message to stop in my spot.

Most NGOs, UN agencies, etc. have the grand daddy of all pick up trucks.  The vehicles are big, bold and a truck, jeep, 4X4 statement of patronage and wealth all rolled into one.  I can’t see the faces of the passengers because the windows are usually tinted.  These trucks never stop for passengers.  And they always have the 4X4 features fully operating because Harare is full of bush and dirt roads.  I guess that’s why the drivers travel with machetes to clear a path if need be.  Yes.  It makes sense to spend the extra money on the additional fuel needed to operate these gas guzzlers.  Logical so that it’s easier to navigate the rugged terrain of Harare’s roads and robots during the daily routine of being driven from one meeting to another.

There are plenty of pick up trucks packed to the gills with people of all ages singing and cheering.  These are the shiny new silver trucks.  Inscribed on both doors in big black letters is ZANU PF.  Other words appear, but no need to read because the six letters are enough to understand. The drivers swerve a lot, make sharp turns, and ignore the robots as they gallivant around town spreading their message of 100% empowerment.  They zip around so quickly it’s hard to get a good look at the people making all the noise.  Often the rhetoricians are standing in the back of the cab.  Sometimes, given the reckless driving, the cheerleaders verge on falling out.  I suspect a good many of these brainwashed souls would like to fall out.

But where would they fall?

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