The Steel Guinea Fowl

When a male guinea fowl wishes to threaten or attack a rival male, it extends its neck until the head can be hidden behind its shoulder. It turns side-on, peering out from behind a wall of its own feathers as it sidles, crablike, towards the opposition. It gives the impression of being a solid foot-wide lump with no discernible weak points until the last moment when it swings round and launches, a little ball of fury with an inch-long beak and sizeable talons.
The trucks here have been tortured over so many potholes that their chassis become warped, malformed shapes. The back wheels are flung out of alignment with the front, so as they barrel toward you down a narrow one-lane mud track with ditches either side they very much resemble the attacking posture of a guinea fowl, a vast immovable wall with a driver peering out of the corner at you until the last possible moment when he flings all of his weight onto the steering wheel and forces the truck to travel straight for long enough that you can squeeze past, two wheels in the ditch.
The overloading means that the trucks are unable to enter the ditches at all for fear of toppling straight over. They must stick to the centre of the carriageway, which is the worst part. It is riddled with deep, wide potholes formed by the constant stream of lorries doing just that, and so the chassis bends and another steel guinea fowl is born.


About Muzungu

I’m a Uganda-based freelance photographer (and occasional writer) working for a broad range of clients including NGOs, newspapers and magazines and development agencies. My work has taken me across East Africa, South America and Europe, and previous clients include USAID, the World Bank and the East African. I also work on personal documentary projects in my spare time. If you’d like to hire me or to know more, please feel free to get in touch.
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