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Today it's a crack but tomorrow it'll be a pothole

May 22, 2013

It's the rainy season in the region and as we all know, rain stirs lots of trouble for humanity. For instance, in some places thieves take advantage of night rains to break into people's homes because they are assured of two things; first, they know it's very unlikely that anyone will hear them and second, the possibilities of TANESCO misbehaving when it rains are very high. Besides, how many neighbors do you think would risk the rain to go to the house being broken into, if even when it's completely dry and the stars are shinning brightly in the sky they don't bother? Anyway, I digress.

So, like I was saying, the rain comes with its fair share of drama. For instance, right now as we speak there are people who have been rendered homeless simply because what they used to call home has been transformed into a temporary “sea”. What's unfortunate for some of the victims is that they had been warned about the rains and told to vacate the potential death traps but for one reason or another (whether legitimate or not) they opted to stay put and now they are suffering the disastrous consequences. 
 
The other area affected by the ongoing rains is infrastructure. I don't know about where you stay but where I do, every single road has been affected. The most saddening thing is that for most of these roads it's not even a year since they were given a fresh coat of makeup, but today if you see them.... Let's just say there is no evidence that the roads had been worked on previously.
 
There is this one particular road, Mwai Kibaki road as it is now called, that looks horrendous. Right outside the Head Quarters of JKT (Jeshi La Kujenga Taifa), there's a porthole that is soon going to upgrade itself to a mini valley. If that pothole were a child, I'd say I'm impressed by the speed at which he or she is growing. You see, only two weeks ago I could drive over the pothole without touching any part of its edge but now, whenever I approach it I have to slow down, let the tyres sink into it then pull out slowly. And when it rains, it becomes very tricky to know exactly where it begins and/or ends considering like I've already mentioned, it's becoming bigger daily.
 
Every day I pass that road twice, and everyday I notice the pothole has increased in size and no one seems to bother about it. Ironically though, there are always traffic cops standing right there guiding traffic. I know it is not their responsibility to repair roads, but I can't help asking myself whether there is any of them who has thought of communicating to the relevant authorities about that road in general, since they (the authorities) may be clueless as to what is going on. I say they may be clueless because if they were clued in, I believe by now they would have done something to sort it out. 
 
This pothole perfectly acts out the old English adage that says: "A stitch in time saves nine". What this simply means is that when you notice a torn portion of your dress and sew it up, then you will have stopped the tear before it spreads, thus saving you more stitches and more costs, or even possibilities of losing your dress. Regarding this road, the fact that the authorities have not done anything to stop the worsening of the pothole means that the longer they take to fix it, the costlier it will cost them to fix it than it would have, had they fixed it when it was still a small crack on the road.
 
And so do the potholes we allow to widen in our lives. Potholes in this case could mean anything from old bad habits to new acquired habits that are harmful to us and those around us. These potholes can be found in any "road" (read areas) of our lives, starting from our relationships, our families, our jobs and/or businesses, etc.
 
Let's take for instance procurement officers working for various companies.... How many of them genuinely select suppliers based on quality of service offered as opposed to quantity of shillings offered to them under-the-table? What about career growth in these corporate organizations? How many people (especially females) get promoted to high positions because of their solid input in the boardroom and not in the bedroom? The traffic police officers on our roads, how many of them own homes they've bought/built using bribes given to them by faulting drivers? What about government officials, how many of them really use their offices for the right purpose, and not as their own private offices where they handle personal business? What about relationships, how many are falling apart just because of ridiculous habits?
 
If a research company was to GENUINELY conduct a research on the above, I'm almost sure the negative feedback would have a landslide victory over the positive feedback. I say "genuinely" because even they (research firms) have become master chefs at "cooking" figures in order to stay relevant; some of them anyway, not all. The reality on the ground is that nowadays corruption is the norm as opposed to being the exception. But how did corruption in our society get to this level? I believe it started the same way the pothole did; as a small crack that was not stopped in time and now, corruption has become this ugly humongous pothole that is smack dead in the middle of every area of our lives. Worse still, it is proving impossible to mend this pothole because it seems society has decided to accept it as a way of life! People just circumvent it and move on like there’s nothing wrong.
 
As I come to the conclusion of this article, it's up to us to look at our lives and identify those potential pothole threats that are likely to appear in our lives and mend them before it is too late. If you already have a fully developed pothole, then find a way of re-carpeting that part of the road and ensure it doesn't open up again. If you are that corrupt procurement officer, this is your chance to fill that pothole. If you are that woman who is boasting with a sexually transmitted promotion, then you need to rethink your position and do what is right. You need to make that decision to drop those habits that caused the pothole in the first place. 
 
God gave each one of us the ability to make decisions that affect our lives, either positively or negatively. This ability is called freewill. May your freewill direct you to the right places this week. May it cause you to make decisions that will not pothole any area of your life.
 
Wishing you all a pothole-free week!
 
PS: Article published in Tanzania's Guardian on Sunday on the 19th May, 2013, under my weekly column "Thoughts in Words"
 

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