News reporting is not always as exciting as many people assume it to be. Media coverage can get a reporter anywhere; you can find yourself in uplifting places or the deepest and most humbling places.
My journey to Ketane humbled me, it was long and tiring, I got to experience all modes of transport in just a day.
The gravel road was in a good condition but the sloping and sharp meanders were stomach-turning. At times there were horrifying places where the road was literally by the river bank.
With no road signs in this dangerous road, any slight driving mistake would cost our lives.
The mishaps of the day started when our vehicle had a tyre puncture that was before we reached our destination, Phamomg, regrettably we had no spare wheel!
Stuck in the middle of nowhere with no vehicle I had to gather news against all odds, the only option was for me to hike to Ketane and continue with my work while the driver remained behind looking for help.
Things looked good for me when the driver of a truck that was going to Ketane Shearing Shed (where I was going) gave me a lift.
The truck was uncomfortable but I did not mind since I was finally continuing with my journey.
The road’s sharp curves were tormenting; I just kept hoping that we would arrive well; luckily we arrived safely, before the commencement of the event.
The event was a success, for some time I had forgotten about the vehicle predicament.
When the event came to an end, it was time to go back, alas, the driver had not come, I assumed that the vehicle had not been fixed therefore I had to hike back to Phomong.
The Ketane people said the only way to get back to Phomong was riding a horse because there was no means of transport.
I had the knowledge of riding a horse but on that day I could not, as I was wearing a mini skirt and stilettoes there was no way I could hop on horse saddle. That was not an option at all.
Late afternoon I was told that there was a taxi that ferried people in that area that could take me back to Phomong.
I was so delighted to hear about the taxi; at least I had escaped horse riding. I waited for the taxi for more than two hours but the taxi did not arrive; now it was getting dark.
Since Ketane had no electricity, in no time it was pitch black, my whole life I had not seen such darkness, with the giant mountains surrounding the arear, I felt chills run down my spine.
After sometime I saw tiny lights, I was told it was the taxi coming there were no other lights except the lights of that vehicle.
It was around 7pm when I saw the lights but was told to at least expect the vehicle to arrive at Ketane around 8pm.
Worry engulfed my mind as I started questioning myself if the vehicle owner would agree to take me to Phamong at that time of the night.
When the vehicle finally arrived, I learnt that the driver resided at Phamong, now I was thinking about the issue of where I would sleep.
I did not know anyone at the Ketane or Phomong and I could not imagine sleeping in our broken car with the driver, it was ridiculous.
My dreams of sitting in the front seat enjoying the air conditioner were crushed as the vehicle was not a taxi; it was a van that was already overloaded with other passengers.
I managed to find a place to squat, I was feeling cold and my whole body ached.
It was a nightmare in the back of that van, I could not move my body, we were overcrowded, the only movements we made were caused by the swaying of the vehicle at curves.
In the van, I learnt that there were passengers going to Mount Moorosi, felt happy since I had friends staying at Mount Moorosi.
Finally, there was hope that I would get to a place where I would be provided with the comfort I desperately needed, at my friend’s house.
The relief was short-lived as upon arriving at Phamong I realised that the means to get to Mount Moorosi from Bethel Misson was a skateboard.
This was a nightmare; I had never been on a skateboard. Apart from water phobia, I had never imagined myself on a skateboard, the thought never crossed my mind my whole life.
I was upset I told everyone that there was no way I was going to get even close to the river, the driver was agitated with me and I could not keep my fears to myself.
My feet were killing me, I had to hold my shoes in my hands, the cold and the series of misfortunes were getting to me, and the bottled up emotions I could not take it anymore, I burst into tears.
What had I got myself into? I began to ridicule myself, first it was a truck, then a horse, now it’s a skate board. Now after the skate board what is going to happen to me?
I was deep in thought when someone approached me to tell me that they had been calling the board driver who stayed on the other side of the river but he was not responding which meant the board option was out.
I happy, in my mind, I was thinking that soon it would be morning then it would be easier for all of us to find our ways to our different places.
However, the van driver out of pity, asked us to top up money so that he would take us to Seaka about 10 km to my place.
He then took us to the Quthing police station. There were no other people except police officers on duty.
They told us to spend a night there and that they had already accommodated other people. In my thoughts the only place those other people must have slept were cells.
I was not going to sleep in a police cell. No way, I had been through too much for a day and ending it all in a police cell was absurd.
Another police officer who was on standby felt sorry for me, he asked me where I stayed and volunteered to take me home.
I told him where I stayed it was not far from the police station, in no time I was home. The whole night I had a replay of how my day had unfolded and how I nearly got to use all the modes of transport.
This year marks eight years since the day all these activities occurred but it feels like yesterday as the events are still vivid.
TNS => Mamphana Molotsi