A couple of weeks ago, this day, a friend was driving on the Robert Mugabe Highway (what was once called Midima Road) and branched off the road somewhere after Nguludi Turn Off to Phalombe.
It turned out to be a wide earth road, dusty and that, too, is the joy of driving in the rural corners of Malawi.
Just about a corner, somewhere, a boy of less than 10 years was playing on the road, pulling a carton and my friend slowed down; the boy ran away and left the carton on the road. My friend wanted to drive over it. (It was a carton, after all.) Then he thought otherwise, went aside and avoided it.
And something told him to look on his mirror. He saw that boy ran back to the road, bowed down and lifted up something from the carton.
My friend was interested. He parked on the dusty road and came out of the car. He was shocked and froze. To this day, my friend does not know the name of the boy, the village and the place because he did not have the courage to ask. He did not ask anything. He only listened to what a girl, a little older than the boy, said.
This is what happened. The little boy's mother had gone to the field, perhaps to harvest maize or something else. She left a baby with the boy of about 10. And this boy decided to put the baby in a carton and pull it on the road to make the baby enjoy, like riding a 'car' you might say.
The carton that my friend avoided had a baby in it. If he had hit it, he would have killed, I believe, the baby. He would have been lucky to avoid it completely or to have nothing of the car's under part scratch and kill the baby--if not the tyres.
Upon learning that there was a baby, my friend froze, hence he did not say anthing. He only heard a girl say the boy's mother had gone to the field and left the baby with this boy. By the time more women came to see what had happened or what had not happened, my friend had enough courage to drive away, thinking, yet failing to understand what had happened.
All he could say when we met was: Don't hit that carton. This is rule number one when driving. I hope you get the sense.