I’m late. I’m really late!

What took so long anyway? Make up? No I’m not a makeup person. Maybe breakfast. I can eat anything in less than a minute if gulped down with scorching tea. Okay maybe 7 minutes. But still, what delayed me so much? I dress faster than lightening. The walk down the hill? No it can’t be. I’m relatively fit I think. I do run around my room like crazy looking for lost coins. That’s exercise enough right? So the walk couldn’t have taken that long. Maybe 40-50 minutes. That’s not so long in my opinion

Where are the taxis? I’m really screwed. Where are the_ Oh wait, there goes one. Now let the game of push and shove start. Trust me; you have to have really good arm muscles if you want to win a coveted spot in a 14 passenger taxi that a crowd of 30 people are fighting to enter. I think my arm muscles are in good shape, because after what feels like WorldWar3, I manage to get a spot. Right in front. Near the conductor. Which is understandable of course? My arm muscles take credit, not the leering taxi conductor who took mercy on me because of my blazing red hair.
I sit squashed between two large men, one keeps trying to whisper ludicrous things in my ear and another who smells like a moving fish market. Hmm if only I had my own car. Whose windows I could actually roll down not like the ones in here that seem to have been shut for decades and have little anthills growing on them? My car will not smell like the aftermath of a soccer match. No, it will smell like a room full of cherry blossoms. And I definitely won’t drive like a madman scurrying away from the wrath of hell. No, I’ll consider my safety and the safety of those that maybe in the car with me.

Now why is he driving like a maniac? We are going to die!
We can seriously die because of the way this guy is driving. And not from the crash, but from heart attacks. Seriously!  My heart is beating louder than those drums I grew up listening to in the village calling people to gather and eat slaughtered cows. I can practically hear it and that’s saying a lot because of late I think my ears can’t even hear a mosquito buzz around my head! It’s not fair. Why should we be subject to this guy’s need to feed off adrenaline?! We’ve all seen accidents occur before our very own eyes. We’ve seen people go to our heavenly Lord faster than we can blink! We have seen full taxis overturned because the drivers thought they were invincible on a road filled with other crazy drivers who thought the same thing!

Slow down!  Please slow down! I keep repeating in my head as the people around me in the taxi hurl insults mixed with feverish pleas to the man in whose hands our lives now belong. But we all know it is fruitless. The pleading. The begging.  A taxi driver listens to no one!

Then he stops….All of a sudden he stops.

Wait what? He actually did stop? Maybe we hit someone. Did we kill someone? Oh My_ Did we? Not we (there’s no solidarity in these things!) Did he kill someone? I try look through the armpits of the guy next to me. All the cars have stopped. Every reckless boda boda driver has stopped. There is silence. Silence at an accident??! Which accident is more silent than a graveyard? They tend to cause more commotion than two men in a boxing ring would. So what is it? The president? He’s the only one these adrenaline junkies stop for!

Then I hear it. Soft at first, then blaring loud, a loud cacophony of mixed instruments.

They are school children. A school band matching in protest of Child Abuse and Violence against Children. They hold banners that say, “Stop Child Labour” and “I Have the Right to Be Heard” and “I Stand for Child Education”.

The world stands still for a moment. Not for the President. But for a group of small school children!  Wow! A small army of children not more than 12 years old have brought a larger more disorganized yet more threatening army of adults to its knees.

There’s a silent power in these little-less-than-three-feet human beings. A power that instils caution even in the most reckless human beings.

There is no way those drivers would have continued speeding knowing they could harm a group of children crossing the street in protest of their rights being violated.

There’s a power in a child that needs not be violated but respected, cherished and treasured.

I ended up being late to where I was going of course. But it was for a good cause.

Our power knows no limits, yet we cannot find food for a starving child. Our knowledge is without measure and yet we build weapons that will destroy us. We live on the edge of ourselves, terrified of the darkness within. We have harmed, corrupted and ruined. We have made mistakes and deceived. But let us do well by the children.

Say no to child abuse. Say no to violence against children. Say no to child trafficking. Say no to child labour. Say no to all ills against the child. Lets us build an environment where children are safe!

The views and opinions expressed here are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of The Best of Africa.

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