Once, not so long ago, we had a road leading to our farm. A sort of road anyway. One day last week, an inhabitant of a neighbouring village, whom I will call Mr T, showed up with a tractor. This guy had paid tax for the cultivation of a piece of land, about 3/4 acre of poromboke, or common land. This is common practice, and everyone does it. He started off ploughing this piece of land, then got into an altercation with some other neighbours, lost his temper and ploughed up our road, which used to pass through or along (no one knows exactly) his 3/4 acre. And this is what the ‘road’ looks like now.The villagers are aghast: this is not just our road but a much-used short cut between two villages. There are meetings with the Village Accounts Officer and whatnot. While consternation reigns, Mr T, slightly ashamed of his action, calls the revenue department and asks for a survey to be done in order to determine where the road should be. It’s going to take weeks of parleying, or an SUV which we don’t possess, before we can drive up. Meanwhile, it’s pouring cats and dogs. Even if they are very welcome cats and dogs, this sea of mud is difficult to negotiate.
But we’ve decided to play it cool and wait for the problem to resolve itself. Anyway, with a family wedding coming up next week, we’re far too busy to do anything about roads or the lack thereof. Life in a village is different, and the major difference is the perception of time.