KHARTOUM (Sudanow) - As related by newsman Awad Ibrahim Awad:
One day in the 1980s I was part of the media delegation accompanying General Alfatih Mohammad Bushara, the then Governor of Kordofan Region on a tour of South and West Kordofan. And when the long tour came to an end at the railway terminal of Babanousa, the Governor told us that: “We are very tired from this long travel and it is better to return to our head office at Alobied by a railway motor trolley, instead of by automobiles.”
Governor Bushara was right in this, everybody was tired, including the Governor himself whose arm was broken and had it braced in a white strip of cloth tied to his neck, a matter that increased his suffering during the tour.
The idea of taking the railway motor trolley instead of the automobiles sounded very well with us. The Babasonusa railway terminal director prepared two motor trolleys to take us back to Alobeid, one for Governor Bushara and his senior assistants and the other for the media delegates.
Then a funny incident occurred. After the Governor and his staff were seated in the motor trolley, a highly intoxicated man, carrying a bottle of locally brewed gin (araki) in his hand, was brought forward and we were told he would drive the motor trolley carrying the Governor to Alobied. The man was too drunk that he was to be kept on his feet by two railway employees, who held him one on each side.
Nobody could believe what was going on. The Governor was infuriated and shouted at everybody: What is this child play?! Are you crazy? How dare you bring this drunkard and put him behind the steering wheel?
Here the railway officials told the Governor that: Mr. Governor, Sir! This is the best motor trolley driver in Sudan Railways. Nobody can match him, even when he is in this condition you see now.
The Governor was even more infuriated and considered what the railway officials were doing a slighting of the Governor and his Government delegation.
Here the railway officials said in one voice: No Mr. Governor. Your safety is above everything. This man is the greatest railway motor trolley driver in the Sudan. But if he is not in this condition of intoxication, he cannot dispense his duty in the right way. You will see for yourself that he is the most skilful and careful driver, regardless of his appearance.
It was very clear the Governor Bushara was not convinced by what was said. But he laughed to the back of his throat at this position that nobody would easily believe. It was against all the rules of nature, psychology theories, religions and medicine, as anyone who takes alcohol is sure to lose his senses and will not behave with wisdom. Everybody knows the harms of liquor, so how can the Governor and his entourage believe this nonsense?
Anyhow there was no space for argumentation or discussion, because all were tired from the long tour that took many days and nights through the towns and villages of Kordofan.
What increased the fatigue of the Governor and his company was that on many occasions the village dwellers along the Governor’s
roué used to line up by the roadsides to greet the Governor, who was often obliged to stop and address them.
The Governor and his company at the very last decided to go ahead on the trolley, telling the railway officials: We will hold you responsible if this man would not do the job perfectly.
The Governor and his senior aides then boarded the trolley and moved on. And we followed on their heels, driven by a nice driver who showed no signs of alcohol.
We had to pass many railway stations on the way to Alobeid, making a stop at Alsemaih Station where we had some food.
When we reached Alobied we were surprised to realize that the Governor and his companions had arrived there hours before and were fast asleep after a journey they all of them conceded was the most calm and convenient they had ever made.
I am still in wonder about that motor trolley driver and what he could do in that situation. I am leaving the answer to this to psychologists, physics, scientists and scholars of religion.
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