Wednesday, July 4, 2012

Al Shabab Women, Dentists and Mechanics

There is something about the Al Shabab women. The Al Shabab Women are the women who wear black ninja outfits with just a slit at eye level that gives them the opportunity to look out.

Their religion dictates that they must be covered from head to toe, and that they are not allowed to show their flesh in public.

I would call that a draconian religion but then again there are others. In Iran for example, they have the religious police road block where women can report men for have looked at them in a manner that is not appropriate – like have lustful and sexual thoughts. For that crime, if indeed it can be termed a crime, you are removed from the bus and flogged at the roadside.

And in some parts of Pakistan, when a woman goes out on a date, she has to go with practically her entire village, if not clan.

Getting back to Al Shabab Women, they do take their religion and the wearing of the ninja outfit so seriously. A few weeks back I was at Speke Resort Munyonyo by the lake and chanced upon a scene that I had never seen before. Can you imagine that while Al Shabab Woman does swim her religion forbids her from removing her ninja outfit! They were at least ten to fifteen Al Shabab Women frolicking about in the lake and all still dressed up. Talk about a dedication to a religion. I was going to ask one of them about it, but with five Al Shabab men looking on, it would have not been the best move to make. I could have lost a limb, an eye or for that. You know how they be.

Moving on, mechanics and doctors, especially dentists, all have one thing in common. They just can never say ‘no’. Talking of the latter, I was out having kigere when the unfortunate happened. My front tooth broke – almost at the gum level. But I didn’t know it had broken. In fact, I thought it was a bone particle from the kigere and I promptly spat it out. It was a little later when chewing became a tad difficult that I released what had happened.

So I took myself down to the dentists. Dentist was a young man, and all I wanted was a consultation to find out if my tooth could be rebuilt, how much it would cost me and how long it would take. In the dentists reclining seat and with my mouth wide open he started to prod around.

But he was not prodding at the front where the repair work needed to be done. He was prodding at the back of my mouth. Why?

After what seemed like an eternity in which I was minutes away from getting a locked jaw, he started on the front tooth using a gadget that looks like the one that Security Guard uses to check under your car – you know the one I mean, the one with a mirror?

Twenty minutes later and he was done and here is how the conversation unfolded.

Dentist: “Yes we can repair the tooth.”

TB: “What is involved?”

Dentist: “I have to take out the remains of the tooth, and then give you a week’s break. After the week, we will construct a new one.”

TB: “Great. And how much would it cost me?”

Dentist: “30k to remove the rest of the tooth and 180k to build the new tooth.”

TB: “Can I make an appointment for end of month?”

Dentist: “Sure.”

With that, I was out of his seat while rubbing my jaw in a bid to get it moving again and was at the door when he tapped me on the shoulder. He told me that I was forgetting something, a small matter of 10k.

10k, what 10k? The 10k was something he termed ‘consultancy fees.’ But Dentist had not told me of a 10k consultancy fee before he made me hop onto his chair and for that, I more than hesitant about paying it.

That now begs the question. Should I go back to him? Will he do something sinister because I was reluctant to pay the 10k? I think I should take myself to another dentist to be on the safer side.

Talking of cars, I was at the Vintage Car Show at Sheraton Hotel as a guest of Peter Kaggwa’s Events Warehouse. I must say that all who were in the VIP enclosure had more than enough to eat and drink as well as watching the evening show and of course admiring the vintage cars on show. Thanks Peter – please do it again next year.

When it comes to cars, Mechanic will never admit that he can’t fix the problem. I used to own a BMW 325i and it was a good ride until things started to go wrong.

One time on Owen Falls Dam, some of the electronics packed in and at a garage in Jinja, when I explained this to Mechanic, even before I was done, he already had an answer. “It the fuse” so he said while Other Mechanics nodded on in approval.

Popping open the hood, he peered inside at the engine then stepped back in shock and disbelief. In Luganda he was saying something along the lines of: “Eh, this BMW engine is all enclosed. Oba how do I open it?”

I should have sensed trouble and driven away, but I didn’t. Instead, I took myself down the road for a Coke and the worst samosas I has ever eaten. But that is Jinja for you.

When I returned, it was a case of shouting ‘ya la bi’ for what they had done was short of having raped the BMW. The engine was all over the place and when they eventually got to the fuse box which even the daftest of the daftest mechanic in the world would not have missed, they then discover the electronics failure had nothing to do with the fuse box.

But Mechanic was showing no signs of giving up. Perhaps it was pride, but he just had to find a way to fix the problem and then meant dismantling more of the engine.

With time running out, I told him to quit while he was ahead and reassemble the car. I would just have to do without music for the rest of the trip.

Mechanic was smart. He tried to hide his joy when I told him to put back the engine for he had been licked. By the time they had finished there was something that was not right. The box in which they had put the screws that they had removed still contained at least twenty screws and the conversation went along these lines.

TB: “You say you have finished, but why are there twenty screws in the can?”

Mechanic: “Ah mzee, those screws have no problem.”

TB: “What do you mean they have no problem? Just put them back.”

Mechanic: “You can still drive the car though.”

TB: “Listen here, the people at BMW obviously put the screws in place for a reason. If they had thought they were useless, they would not have put them in at the onset.”

Mechanic: “Boss, we have finished our work, and I want 40k for the work done.”

TB: “40k for the work done? What work? You have not even put back all the screws!”

Mechanic: “Don’t fool around, I want my money!”

The conversation came to an abrupt halt. I was in the BMW and speeding off to Mable.

To Mechanic I have this to say: If you don’t know how to fix something, just admit it. There will be no harm done nor would I have looked at you in a lesser light. And to Dentist, if you had told me that you were going to charge me 10k to shove a small mirror in my mouth from the onset, I would have paid without making a fuss.

One thing people have to realise is that we are tired of hidden charges and people out there pretending they can do the job yet, they can’t.

By the way, did anybody go to Ekitoobero last Sunday at Nakivubo Stadium? I was there and since I have gotten no complaints, you all must have seen the degree photo booth I was talking about last Sunday.

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