October 5, 2021
A story is told about Juma Owino, employed as excavator driver by a construction company that built Tanzam railway line which stretches for a distance of 1,860 kilometres connecting the port of Dar es salaam in Tanzania with the town of Kapiri Mposhi in Zambia. Owino’s duty station was Tunduma and his company operated eight-hour shifts and didn’t provide mid-day meals or refreshments. Employees brought packed meals and refreshments from home. They took meals in a large building that was erected initially to serve as a warehouse but was later converted into an eatery.
One day, as everyone sat down to refresh themselves, and take lunch, Owino ran to his pigeonhole, inserted keys into the nozzle, opened it and pulled out a lunchbox. He opened the lunchbox. Slowly. Looked at the contents, frowned and said, “Oh no, rice and beans. I don’t like this food. I hate it.” Surprisingly, he finished the stuff. Clean. No single grain of rice was left in the box. The second day, he repeated the same thing. He opened his lunch-box and started complaining; “Rice and beans, again. How many times should I say this? I don’t like this food.” The third day, as usual, he pulled out his lunchbox and was about to start complaining, when an elderly man, sitting next to him, stood up and tapped Juma on the shoulder, saying; “Juma, please, give us a break. If you don’t like rice and beans for your lunch, why don’t you tell your wife to change recipe or if anything, tell her to prepare something different for your lunch?” To everyone’s surprise, Juma replied; “I live alone. I make my own lunch.”