Written on 10th December 2011
|Iringa, Tanzania. Courtesy of photos.igougo.com|
A few minutes ago l was sitted next to the driver and catching up on stuff as he drove us to our lunch spot in Mbeya. I got back to my sit to catch a few winks only to realize sleep had eluded me. I then decided to write this piece.A story is told about the power company in Iringa; a strange story that started last night because someone ‘had to show us’ where the graves were.
As you travel, you might have noticed power lines that run along the road. This is a story about those lines.
Now in Iringa there is a story that a power company tried to run the lines over some graves where some old men had been buried. It is said that the power on those particular poles didn’t work no matter how much the technical people tried. And many of them tried. Get this, the power poles that followed the ones on the graves worked just fine.
Mzee Charles who lives in Iringa tells us as we listen keenly that the technical people tried to explain it away by saying every time they dug they came across a grave. In this part of the world graves are sacred. ‘Yeah, who doesn’t know that?’ you are thinking. I know graves are sacred and especially in Africa. But here my friend they are seriously sacred. You don’t even talk bad, not about the dead, and certainly not about their graves. You simply don’t.
So that said, the electricity poles had to be re-routed across the road by a number of poles, and then taken back to the right side. It worked. Just before the electricity drama was the road drama. The road in this particular area where the graves were has a bend. The road technicians tried to build a road over the graves and it cost them a life. The community here says that it is the dead that didn’t want to be disturbed and so it affected the system. This seems to be the overriding belief.
At the point that the road technician died, a decision was made and discussions were held with the family who later agreed to move the graves to a different location, after spiritual ceremonies. The electric poles were later returned and the road is now being rebuilt without the bend. What a tale. Only they have proof of it happening. I had to spook you with a story from Iringa, Tanzania.
By Maria Wanza