House of Ants

My Inhaminga home

My Inhaminga home

When your Land Rover is in bits with the local back-yard mechanic in Inhaminga, Mozambique after a head-on collision with a fully loaded timber truck, your illegal pistol is in the hands of the police and the timber company blames you for the accident, you need to be lucky. Or devious. Or sharp.

Especially when you don’t speak much Portuguese.

The chassis was twisted, the fenders buckled, the head and side-light on one side destroyed and the bumper, bonnet and radiator wrecked, so the mechanic stripped everything off the old chassis and located another. New glass, lights and radiator were ordered from Beira. We wacked the fenders and bonnet back into some sort of semblance of shape with a four-pound hammer, and taped the lights in place with masking tape.

Fortunately, surveying natural resources in the wilds of Mozambique for Loxton, Venn & Associates, I had the use of a spare company Land Rover for the several weeks that it took to get mine on the road again.

I went to the police and thanked the sergeant for looking after my pistol, asked him to hang onto it for a while longer and bought him a beer. Well, several beers. Every time he saw me, he said my pistol was safe and I would say, right, well, let’s go to the pub, then. Finally I took it back, no questions asked about permits and such.

Inhaminga village

Inhaminga village

Then I introduced myself to the local Inhaminga magistrate and amused him no end with my peculiar brand of Portuguese. I got him to give me a look at the police report of the accident site. The statement by the timber company driver that I drove into them when there was room for me to pass, I managed to rubbish by pointing out that the police road-width measurements did not accommodate a truck and Landy, side by side. I described the location of the Casa de formigas, the house of ants, and how I had tried to swerve off the track but been thrown back into the path of the truck.

The magistrate nearly bust a gut laughing and went about muttering Casa de formigas, chuckle, chuckle, which, I guess, got him to take my logic seriously, and eventually got the claims by the timber company thrown out, thank goodness.

About peterjearle

Writer of thriller novels. 4 Published: 'Purgatory Road', 'The Barros Pawns', and the Detective Dice Modise Series:'Hunter's Venom' and 'Medicinal Purposed Only', all from Southern Africa.
This entry was posted in Backgrounds, Exploring Africa, Shaping a writer, Writing novels and tagged , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

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