Things Fall Apart – Chifuniro Oscar Kuboma

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Ward 6A was quite familiar to me. This time I am a patient and not a trainee clinical officer. My body is aching everywhere. In fact the head feels as heavy as if I had carried a drum full of water. My left arm is in bandages whilst my right arm has borne a large bore cannula connected to the intravenous fluids from the drip. The short but brown in complex nurse with fat pumpkin shaped bottom, is near my bed and has just shined her face with a beautiful wide smile while holding a syringe and a tray in her hand. I fumble for my legs, they are intact. It seems I have just overcome a comatose I had transitioned. Memories of my day start to trickle in (resurface) in my conscious sight.

Having been well experienced clinician in operating medical procedures and being selected as a research focal person at Makanja District Hospital, it helped me to move majestically with much anticipation of making it for the interviews at John Hopkins Offices. I convinced myself that I was above every one and I was ‘untouchable’. Pride and enthusiasm engulfed my ego as I had been invited to my first interview ever and with confidence I convinced myself. Thoughts lingered in my descent well shaved and small oval shaped head that ‘no matter how hard the interview would be, I would make it. “I have never failed my well calculated moves to any course of interview” I remarked. I had in mind the interviews I had attended like joining the minor seminary at St Mbaaga Seminary, the interviews at Red Crescent Society as a volunteer, then Malawi College of Health Sciences interviews which I had attended barely sixteen months after I botched the idea of vying for priesthood to ‘Katch a Bere’ Major Seminary. ‘’Could this be my first unsuccessful interview?’’ I murmured to myself with supplication.

‘Ya Mibawa! Inayi ya Lunzu via petroda!’ a minibus tout shouted with coarse voice breaking the silence that had prevailed in the twelve seater minibus dubbed ‘high roofed buses’. He had brown teeth like roasted ground nuts.  I knew I had to drop down at ginnery corner bus depot. This was after a smooth ride of travelling from Makanja District via Limbe where I had been working as a Clinical Officer.

After checking my time it showed 0725am in the chilly morning of a Monday. It was partly cloudy which predicted the rains could fall any time as this was raining season. I had woken up very early and I had not taken my breakfast. ‘Since am to attend the interviews of Clinical Research Officer at 0900am at John Hopkins conference room, well I need to take a bottle of Colacola or may be mahewu….’ I reasoned.

I crossed the road to Chifuniro superette which had cosy paired furniture to the far left, may be for couples to show case their romantic gestures to one another or for gamblers to strike deals in this magnificent building. I speculated.

I managed to buy a soft drink and a chintuwitsa scone. As the adage that says old habits die hard I remembered old school days when we used to pour some soft drink on a scone or rather bread in the name of enjoyment. And I had just done that. I looked side ways to check if someone notices but there was none. I laughed scornfully to myself after remembering that one of my classmates was nicknamed Chonyowetsa after he was seen by fellow students in Lilongwe bus depot practicing this self-satisfying ‘ritual’, so many years ago. “I think I have his number,” I retorted. I had his number so I wanted to check if he is now connected to ‘whatsapp’ media social service. I fished out my Nokia C3 mobile phone. It was on silent mode. My friends who had other portable smart phones nicknamed my phone chidhina which literally meant it was a brick. The number was there! After connecting the device to internet, lo! ‘He is on whatsapp!’ I nearly shouted.

Shortly before I contacted ‘Chonyo’, sixty five messages were received. The first photo snapped my attention. The very room I had been sleeping in was on fire! The other one read: Makanja Disrict Hospital’s hostels on fire. Another terrible text read: ‘where are your keys bother? You didn’t tell us you are leaving early, where the hell are you?’ My heart skipped a beat. I touched my laptop bag. Only my certificate and other interview documents were stuffed in.

This meant my top notch laptop was on fire. ‘What about my double door Samsung refrigerator…, my DSTV decorder, my 54 inch samsung plasma, my Karaoke 8 CD changer radio I have just bought?’ I muttered to myself. “Psuuuuu!” I sighed. These are the materials I raised on saving by living in hostels ready to transfer to pay lent at Njaza location.

‘Could this be a dream?’ I asked myself without demanding an answer. “Well,” I had thought, “let me crosscheck with Facebook social media.” Same news appeared on Makanja DHO Group. Then, I tried to log in to my ordinary Facebook page. Someone had tagged me naked pictures of my fiancée Shyreen Kantchewe who is doing her nursing studies at Dyarran Medical University in the capital. She was posing naked with a muscular male person with a huge tattoo on a hand labelled ‘UK Navy seal.’ There too, it was a bitter pill to swallow. I smashed the empty colacola bottle on the floor. Everyone in the shop looked at me. I squared the bill and paid for the broken bottle. Nobody touched me. It was time to go.

When crossing the road on my way to John Hopkins Offices via Queens Central hospital, I just heard the brakes of a speeding minibus squeaking. The vehicle thumped onto my body. 3hrs later, I woke up in orthopaedic ward 6A of Queens central Hospital.

When I asked the nurse, who appeared short, fat and brown in complexion, she responded,” blame it on Whatsapp and Facebook”. She was attending to me on hospital bed number 14. I guess she answered the phone call from the interviewing panel who had known my predicament and people who had called me from Makanja District.

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Author: Chifuniro Oscar Kubona

Oscar is medical practitioner with BSc in Clinical Medicine who likes writing fiction and has a passion for journalism.