Monday January 13 2014

LIVING AND LOVING IT :Applauding the people we like to hate


By Carol Beyanga

So, there are many companies the public is asking the government to help them out with. These companies and institutions have annoyed the people to no end including me. But today, I would like to give a vote of thanks to some of these people. I know you feel they are not deserving of any gratitude, but hey, how many times have most of us under-delivered at our jobs and expected people to just deal with it? And how many times have we done something good only for it to be ignored or for people to look out for the things we could have done better? Feels annoying, right? Which is why I am for a few minutes going to ignore those annoying things and focus on the good, starting with Umeme.
Last year, I cannot count the number of times our power went off, not because of load shedding but because of a short circuit somewhere or burnt wires. Sometimes the whole estate was affected, other times, it was just our house.

Every time this happened, I called the Umeme toll free line and our complaint was worked on. I admit that sometimes it took too long (two to three days before someone actually came) but come they always did. I remember the men who came home on a Saturday evening. By the time they called to say they would fix the problem, it was getting dark. I did not think they would appear because trying to find out what the problems on electricity poles at night is not easy at all. But come they did, arriving at about 7pm. They had to climb about three different poles and constantly shake wires. But they kept at it for about 40 minutes, fixed the problem and power was restored. That is something I am really thankful for with these chaps. They will eventually come and fix it and I do not have to call a boss somewhere, to help. I just call the toll free line and I get the help. That is so much more than you will get from many other supposedly better run institutions – like my bank that has refused to change my last name, or the network that claims to be everywhere but drops calls like they were hot charcoal pieces.

I am also thankful for the traffic police. Many times when I have found myself in a thick traffic jam, with double and triple lanes being formed by taxi drivers and little accidents all over the place, there is no traffic police guiding the cars. It’s everyone for themselves and I cannot describe how horrendous these situations are. I would much rather these policemen and women are on the road every day.

I have also been stopped a number of times by them. The few times I have broken the rules – such as not wearing a seatbelt, I have been politely warned. Only once, have I been asked for a bribe. Otherwise they go about their duty without bothering me. I am grateful that they stand on those busy roads till very late in the evening doing their job. It makes for an easier ride home. And I appreciate it. You will not get such helpful service from some nurses even in private hospitals never mind that they are on the night shift, meaning they should have rested during the day and been fresh for duty.
So, one must applaud where it is due and for those small things, I am grateful.