Flat tire

January 5, 2010

tire, flat.
“Must have been annoying, having a flat tire on your VW Beetle especially on your holidays?”
“Oh, we liked that. At the garage we met so many helpful people. One man even drove some place to fetch two new tires for us – which one could see from 100 meters they won’t fit. Another man didn’t want to interfere with our tire business, but he told us to be from Zimbabwe and proposed that we could support him. I said I would support him, but I would not give money. Thus he quickly disappeared saying ‘Maybe next time.’ Then a woman approached, calling herself ‘A woman you can trust.’ She advised us to ask another man who then claimed to have a cousin who has a perfect workshop. Ismael is this man’s name and he is from Mozambique.
During all that interaction another man around was working. He managed to find two holes in the old flat tire. And – last but mot least – we did get to know a man who filled our small substitute tire with air, so we could drive on, slowly and carefully. Yes, we did enjoy the flat tire business during holiday this year. But that’s not the end of the story.
Now we have an appointment for the day after tomorrow, 10AM with Ismael. he promised to accompany us to his cousin’s workshop and – could be that the old tire will be fixed there.”

boys, working.Half past ten Ismael arrives, after various calls with us in which he stated different things and issues. We did not understand. Even Ismael’s mother called us. All we understood through the mobile line then was that this voice was Ismael’s mother’s voice. ‘7K’ Ismael says, ‘follow my car’ and we follow his car, driving carefully and slowly. Half way back to the place we just came from to make it to our meeting point with him, Ismael turns left. We follow him. After 19K Ismael turns right and we follow. We end up at a workshop. About 10 boys between 10 and 15 years are hard working on an old machine to get the tires out of the wheel rim. Several customers surround them, chatting, shouting, gazing.
As we arrive the boys have a huge tire on their small machine. This won’t work – but they keep on trying. The machine is just about to hit the boys as I grab this huge tire. Yes, together we make it. Later, the flat wheel of our car is a quick one. The boys put a new tube into, Ismael pumps and done. Perfect. 85 Rand.

No doubt, now we have to visit Ismaels mother. ‘Just around the corner’ ends up to be less then 5 kilometers.
Gwyneth, mother.Gwyneth. She’s big, really big. She’s got eyes like two terrestrial globes. And she doesn’t stop telling me that I have to send money to my mother. If not, I won’t have no support in heaven. Gwyneth loks like 40, but she claims to be 51. ‘When I am 60, I will receive state money.’ But even then, every child is to support it’s mother. Mother mother mother. That’s all I hear.
Gwyneth has 5 to 7 children, nobody knows. And somehow, sitting there in her colorful shack, facing the painted pictures of her parents, smiling at ther TV-waching youngsters, feeling the looks of an extra large Jesus figure, we become her children too. Gwyneth!
‘Don’t ever forget your mother’ is what we hear as we raise to leave. Since we entered his mother’s shack, Ismael did not say one word. Now he and Gwyneth nod their heads as I hand over an amount. ‘Salakahle’ I mutter to myself as the engine roars and the wheels squeak. Gwyneth waves good-bye.
Out in Zululand: Berlinerstrich.blogspot.com


One Response to “Flat tire”

  1. The tire relost it’s air. We then went to AK, he is 47 years old and he knows how to deal with holes!

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