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Lumbasi had a fancy English name, Leonard, that people in the village pronounced as Liyonadi. This name was stolen all the way from Rwanda where his father traversed with his trucks transporting cables and sometimes petrol. The name belonged to a rich man and this special name would qualify Lumbasi to be a tycoon too.
He did not seem to be afraid of today, tomorrow or next year. He was a beautiful weaver bird that sang well. He loved music and he adored Wizkid and was convinced that he would be the next Wizkid and would be as rich. Lumbasi’s mind could not be contained in class and it flew away to stages and stadia and performed in front of masses. He was also good with his hands and turned sisal leaves into ropes for skipping and for sewing the nylon paper ball they played with.
But Lumbasi was a blindsnake:
He was harmless and never seemed cautious of impending danger, imagining everyone on his path was his friend. He would be swayed and turned whichever side as long as there was light. That is the reason sometimes he chose to play with other kids and leave his usual six-man squad. In football tournament, he could easily run to the opposing team and choose to join when he thought they were too powerful. That is why when his father said corona was out there, Lumbasi abandoned his friends and his life and remained holed up in his room. Then when his friends went to his home when they heard he was sick, he abandoned the quarantine and joined them again because his father had already left for Burundi and his mother couldn’t stop him.
Kids in school milled around him because his father drove a truck. And when they laughed at him that he was the last position in class after exams he said, my father promised to take me to school in France because he has friends there. The other kids kept quiet.
But blindsnakes are a target of many predators. Many kids hated Lumbasi with the intensity of humans towards snakes.