November 20, 2006
Gunfire at the Meta brewery
A quiet Sunday afternoon at the Meta brewery. Three adults and one baby boy sitting back having a beer/milk, enjoying the late afternoon sun, watching a wedding party getting noisier and noisier outside the main visitor centre.
Everyone was drinking and singing and clapping and dancing and drinking. About half an hour in, some of the younger men started tussling on the edge of the crowd. Nothing too serious. The bride and groom drove off in a car covered in ribbons and everything calmed down.
People started drifting towards the front of the visitor centre, wandering about on the road that ran along the shaded grassy bank where we were sitting. The guys started shouting again, lunging at each other in packed crowds. Girlfriends in shiny dresses dived in, screaming and trying to drag their men away. Nothing more than you would see in many English towns on a Saturday night.
The screaming suddenly got louder and people started running in all directions, leaving a gap in the middle of the crowd. People started picking up rocks and throwing them at anyone within range. A man in a suit and open necked white shirt stumbled forward carrying a five foot length of telegraph pole. He looked around for someone to hit, saw a 30-something woman in traditional dress, raised the pole above his head and brought it down on her neck.
It was then that I noticed the doddery old guard standing next to our table on the bank. He was pulling down on a lever on his equally aged rifle (so they do load those things). He aimed it into the air and fired off an ear-shattering round.
Three adults and one bawling baby decided to run away very quickly and take shelter in the bar building. Everyone we passed on the way had something to say.
"Chiggur yellem, chiggur yellem" (No problem, no problem) said one of the guests.
"Ethiopian men and alcohol," said another standing close to the door as the guard fired again.
Inside a smartly suited man sitting at one of the tables leaned forward and wagged his finger at me. "Don't talk," he said. "Don't tell anyone."
Posted by aheavens at November 20, 2006 4:20 AM