The actions of three people have a combined affect.
| It was a day like no other. No one knew the disaster which was about to befall Okello, least of all him. One would have thought his day couldn’t get much worse when he was rudely woken from a deep sleep after receiving an urgent phone call from a farmer twenty miles away.
“Hello, is this the veterinarian?”
“This had better be important.” Okella groaned, “Do you know what time it is?” he said, peering at the alarm clock, which read five-twenty a.m.
“I’m so sorry, Sir,” the voice, on the other end of the line, apologised, “but a pack of lions have attacked my herd of cattle. Please come.”
Okello, awake now, climbed from his bed.
The first bus of the day, from Naivasha, heading east, was travelling to the train station, loaded with early morning commuters. Most were connecting with the city train for the 57 mile commute into Nairobi. There wasn't much conversation on the bus at this early hour, it was still dark; at this time of the year the sun didn’t rise until 6am. The bus driver, Alamini, had been awake most of the night, his newborn son making sure no one in the house had any sleep. As the bus descended the steep hill into the town, Alamini closed his eyes for a few seconds, day dreaming about the warm bed he’d left and wishing he could grab a couple of hours sleep. The sun was lighting the sky, heralding a fine, hot day, a change after the terrible weather of the last few days.
The school bus taking the children to catch the city train was travelling west. There was the usual babble from the kids, and the driver, Jalisco, turned around, shouting a warning, ensuring his young passengers were being well behaved.
“This road gets worse,” he complained out loud, when he needed to swerve to miss huge potholes that appeared overnight after the heavy rains. The beams from the headlights lit up the uneven gravel surface and the trees which lined the rough road. Watching out for wandering cattle, the driver slowed. He needed to keep his eyes on the time though, not wishing to be late and miss the connection.
Okello, awake now, took a sip of his coffee and peered out of the window at the dawn sky. His house, in the bustling market town of Naivasha, was opposite the railway station, and next door to the Bell Inn, a well-known hotel and landmark. For years people used to stop there for a stiff gin and tonic, whilst waiting for horse-drawn carriages to whisk them off lakeside for shooting parties and picnics.
Being the only vet in the district, he was in high demand and was used to being summoned out by farmers and landowners at all times of the day and night. He stretched his long arms above his head and yawned, preparing himself mentally to leave home. Searching for his car keys took up a few minutes, and he grumbled to himself, saying something about, “leaving things alone,” blaming his wife for moving his stuff. He left the house, stepping outside onto his paved driveway and into his green Volkswagen. Starting the engine, he sighed when it seemed reluctant to turn over.
“Come on,” he urged. He revved the motor to warm it up, and reversed out onto the street, deserted at this time of the day.
The eastbound bus, fast approaching the train station, slowed. Alamini squinted through the dirty, mud splashed windscreen as the sun appeared above the horizon, blinding him for a few seconds.
The westbound bus approached the station. Noise from the school children was escalating. Something was happening back there, Jalisco thought, and turned around, taking his eyes off the road for a moment or two.
“Settle down, you lot,” he yelled, turning his attention back to the road. Noticing a massive pothole in the middle of the road, he swerved, taking the bus onto the wrong side of the road.
The vet continued to reverse out onto the road. The three vehicles were on a trajectory to disaster, especially for Okello who couldn’t know he was soon to breathe his last. The combined actions of all three drivers led to the vet, and his car, being squashed flat between the two crowded buses; much as a discarded aluminium can under a heavy boot.