Roadtrip in the middle of the night

On a Saturday night at 20:00 my friend takes me out with his motorbike. We drive around, stop some places to have a conversation and something to eat and watch a bit of a football game in a nearby lodge. Nearly around midnight we arrive in a place where we are supposed to catch up with some other friends to go dancing together. My friend’s phone rings, he picks it up and suddenly his happy face disappears. “My uncle has been in an accident”, he closes the phone. “Where? Is he ok?”, I take of my helmet. “Yes, he’s not hurt, but he is in the middle of nowhere between Chipata and Lusaka (the distance is around 600 km) and there is not a chance to call a police or an ambulance to go to pick him up.” “Is there anything we can do?” I stand beside the bike in my dress and high-heels. “Well, we can go there”.

In an hour we have changed the bike for a car (there is always someone borrowing his/hers for free, especially in situations like these) and we are on our way to collect the uncle. On the backseat there are two other relatives to the uncle who left their warm beds, at a minute’s notice, just to join the (approximately 200-300 km, estimated by coordinates given by the uncle) drive that probably will take around 5 hours (one way!) in a dark and with roads that are far from the ones we have in Finland. Once reached the accident place we have to arrange a breakdown truck for the broken car (it had hit a large cow), maybe sort out things with a nearest police station and…and…and…the rest is still a mystery for me. All I know that if we are back at home on Monday morning we are lucky, but at the moment I am too focused on keeping myself observing the dark road sides that can bring in my sight whatever possible: a gorilla, a truck that we are unable to pass on these narrow and uneven roads, another (huge!) cow crossing the road, a whole on the road under our tyres…

“You know, this happens often…that we go to collect someone on the road”, my friend says turning the CD-player on. In the backseat a happy chatting (nobody has been complaining about the coldness, tiredness, lack of food and drinks, about the possibility that we run out of petrol…not about anything.) turns into moving to the rhythm and singing along. “And it’s not hard to get people to come along?” “Not even in the middle of the night?” I ask. “No, not at all”, he looks rather surprised. “Well, it’s surprising that you came along. That doesn’t happen often”, he adds smiling.

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