Name ID 1591
Read, David Beating about the Bush
Page Number: 012
Extract Date: 1937
Eventually, the much-anticipated end of the school year hove into view and we all prepared to depart for home and the precious eight weeks of the August holiday. When the day came we piled into the school bus, filling it with the noisy bustle of luggage and students all too eager for home and freedom.
The bus took us from Arusha to Dodoma, in the centre of the country, a journey of about 270 miles, from where most of the children were to catch trains going east to the coast or west to the lakes. There were five other boys and girls and I from the same area who were to carry on southwards in Mooloo Manji's Royal Mail Transport, a rather grandiose term for what was little more than two saloon cars. Donald Bousfield and his sister Lorna, as the eldest in the group, were in charge of us for this leg of the journey, but their duties entailed nothing more than comforting some of the younger children. The long rains had arrived early and the Ruaha River was in flood, sweeping over the bridge in a vicious brown torrent, forcing us to sleep overnight in the saloon cars at Chipogoro.
The whole thing was initially a great adventure, which at first we entered into with a joyous spirit, but when we woke up after a damp and cramped night we were slightly subdued. By morning the waters had receded sufficiently for the cars to creep across the bridge in low gear with us walking and sliding ahead to remove debris and check that all was well on the crossing. The journey from Dodoma to the Lupa took four days but that first holiday at home provided a longed-for release for me, a great letting offofbottled up energy and frustration and if my mother had known how I spent most of that holiday, she would have been horrified.