It is heavily raining in the city of Dar es Salaam. Roads have become rivers and cars are barely moving. Public transport is almost stalled. Daladalas (city buses) are either too crammed up or won’t board any passengers for unsaid reasons. I pass by a couple of crowded bus stops. I can see worries written all over the faces of the waiting passengers — some of them have been waiting for two long hours. I’m under my umbrella and I would like to join the crowd of waiters. Suddenly I see a boy walking in front of me.
He is walking in the rain. His backpack, full of books, on his back. He seems tired and I can tell he is feeling cold. I increase my pace to catch up with him. When I get close to him I cover him with my umbrella. He turns around, looks up at me, smiles and says: “Asante” (thank you).
“No worries,” I tell him, smiling back.
“I have been trying to get on one of these buses but I can’t. They won’t let a soaked kid in school uniforms board their buses,” he tells me.
“So I decided I was going to walk but you know I can’t walk all the way home, it is too far,” he continues.
He looks up at me. I’m still smiling as I listen. He then adds: “Will you walk with me?”
I look at him. I feel him. I know how difficult it is for a pupil to use public transport in this city, even when it is not raining. I decide I was going to forget about my business and make sure I help him in all ways possible.
“I will walk with you,” I tell him as we start going. As we walk, he starts asking me where I was headed. I tell him not to worry too much about me. After like 20 minutes walk, we see a daladala that goes where the boy is going. He tells me he would be happy if he could board that daladala (he is tired). I look at the daladala and I see there are seats, unoccupied. I hold his hand and tell him to walk a bit faster. We go around the bus and I knock on the bus door. Luckily the bus conductor opens the door for us. We get on the bus. I make sure the boy is comfortably seated and I go my own way.