Each day brought its fair share of challenges. Most of the times he would go home wearing a sad face. At times when lady luck could smile on him – he would go home with a smile on his face. At such a young age he had mastered the art of doing business. The challenges of orphan hood had thrown him into the deep end. His parents had passed on in the late 1990s due to the HIV/AIDS scourge. Such a tragic event occurred at a time when it used to be taboo mentioning about the deadly pandemic either behind closed doors or in public. These were the years when songs were sung about HIV/AIDS being a deadly killer disease. Various singers ranging from Charles Charamba, Oliver Mtukudzi, Dino Mudondo and others belted songs that spoke of the ravaging effect of the pandemic.
Many years had rushed into each other. Coincidentally, the World Aids Day also marked Kuda’s birthday. But unlike some children who had their living parents – Kuda never celebrated his birthday. The blowing of candles was something totally alien to him. On his birthday, just like the usual days, he woke up early to go to Kudzanai Bus Terminus. It promised to be a hectic day indeed. The routine chasing and running battles from the City Council (Municipality police) always affected his daily sales.
His day’s work always started at 5am. He would wake up very early to lit fire and boil the eggs. In times of bad weather he would use primus stove – but such would costly affect his business returns given the cost of paraffin.
‘Wachada Mazai – Mazai pano’, (Eggs for sale) – Kuda would embark and disembark from different buses. With a crate of eggs in his hands – he would spend the whole day at the market. At around 4 pm he would go to hoard for more eggs to sell the next coming day. Such was a tough business venture especially in the wake of a cholera outbreak and fear for other hygiene related illnesses, such as typhoid and dysentery by the clientele.
Despite such challenges, over the years, Kuda had mastered well the art of boiling eggs. He made sure not any egg would break or appear cracked.
As the world celebrated World Aids Day, the young innocent and affected Kudas of this world seem forgotten. For their tale is a fate of working children on the streets. He also had hopes of getting education. Probably, Kuda also had high hopes if asked ‘what do you want to do when you grow up’. Maybe he would have replied ‘I’ would like to be a Pilot’.
It is indeed a cruel world that takes the ones we love from this Mother earth. With such cruelty the world leave the innocent children at the mercy of a cruel world – were they are supposed to fend for themselves. Instead of being a pilot, he counts and watches buses and travellers as they come and go, at the bus terminus. More worryingly, he has been exposed to the foul language that has become characteristic with touts at most bus terminus such as Kudzanai.