By Deng Kiir Akok, Juba, South Sudan
January 2, 2017 (SSB) — This restaurant is on the side of the road that comes from Malakia to Konykonyo and near to Malikia mosque. I was alone last evening when I went to this restaurant. It was because a friend I go with him was away for his personal stuffs. The restaurant has no official name yet.
But it’s likely to be named “Brokers & Bus Drivers’ Restaurant.” It’s mostly brokers, bus drivers and their bus conductors who mainly eat in it. This place is where ever broker and bus driver that lives in Juba is found during the day time and late evening. They make sure they have their dinner in it before quitting.
My friend and I sometimes use to take dinner from there for reason that they are professional in making salad. And because salad is my favorite food, I went down to this restaurant last evening despite the fact that I was alone.
It’s advisable that you shouldn’t go there alone. Going there needs you to move in group. That’s from two to three in number. As you are two or so, one of you will be tasked with bringing the food you ordered and the other one to find a place to sit.
Since akul-barou (eating alone) is not recommended here in this restaurant, I have some bad experiences last year when I decided to go and eat alone.
What happened to me was a bad incident. There’s one thing this restaurant is known for and it’s what I hate most.
On an asida cooking size and length stool known as bamber in South Sudan, sits a heavily weight woman whom brokers refer to as Haja (a woman who went to Mecca for pilgrimage) to manages food. She never goes anywhere from her bamber until the food gets finished.
But what is funny in this restaurant is when you make an order for a food. You don’t go to look for a place where you can sit and wait for food to be brought to you by waiters. Never think of such things. You keep around the Haja waiting for the food you ordered to be called out and then you take it yourself to a table to eat it.
The brokers, bus drivers and their conductors enjoy this restaurant practices. But for someone like me was not a simple job when my dish of salad ended up in the hand of a street boy who was standing near the Haja.
“Weno bita salata de, asked the Haja.” Without stopping for a second, I replied her call to the top of my voice, ana be jai ya Haja but she didn’t hear me. She rolled her eyeballs around trying to see where I am and she didn’t succeed.
While I was repeating myself saying ana be jai ya Haja…..suj, she didn’t listen to those words. The Haja then turned around and saw a very smart street boy standing by her side and whose she later falsely gave my food.
“Ooh, here is his bus conductor, give it to him, said Haja in a trembling low voice to one of her girls. Although I roared out loudly in Arabic saying la, la…….(meaning no in English) it was too late for me. I am not a bus driver and that I had no bus conductor here with me, it was not fruitful. The street boy took my food and looked very fine with it.
According to Haja I was left with two options. The first one was to pay half amount of that food a street boy stole between me and her that it was my negligence. And the second one was to order for another one. I made neither of them because what left with me was SSP 25 which
I spared for water and bus fare. In my excellence budgeting of last year last dinner, I budgeted SSP 105. This amount was divided into three parts. SSP 80 for salad, SSP 15 for water and SSP 10 was for bus fare. But whatsoever I arranged in my budget was dismantled after the incident.
I wish a good blessing new year, the year of 2017 to all the people of South Sudan. Big Oyee to 2017. God blesses South Sudan.
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