By Ernest Bazanye
We were privileged to come across one of Uganda’s very rare species of birdlife this morning as we motored down Jinja Road and I felt that, as a journalist I had to report the astounding news. Such a sight have I seen! Such a rare thing!
It was marabou stork roadkill — the mashed-up remains of a marabou stork, or kaloli, that had been run over by a car.
They were fester¬ing in the middle of the road, sending curls of repugnance into the midmorning air as we passed, making Jennifer Musisi’s traffic-island gardens look even more ridiculous in comparison with the ugliness that borders them on either side.
DOM TORETTO: I know, right? When have you ever seen a marabou stork that was actually knocked dead by a car in the middle of the road? Usually it is the storks that hit cars.
Parked cars, that is. You come back to find your vehicle splattered white and the previous owner of that problem has flown away.
Well, it was payback time, apparently, because this bird was done. It was an ex-stork. There was nothing of it left uncrushed save for the tips of wings raised upwards as if it was either spreading them to say:
“Receive me, o my creator,” or: “Stop! Stop before you hit m….Aaargh!”
MICHAEL KNIGHT: I prefer the latter explana¬tion, not only because I am un-remorselessly sadistic when it comes to marabou storks, (I believe they are not nearly endangered enough) but also because it makes more sense.
The reason it is so rare to find a dead stork rotting in the road is because they are too cunning. They look like zombie undertakers, but those spindly legs are surprisingly agile.
The thing is capable of almost instantaneous liftoff, so when a car approaches, they can be airborne and gone in seconds.
MEMPHIS RAINES: Plus, they know the traffic rules better than most human pedestrians so you do not find them walking into and around roads willy-nilly.
Unlike humans, who are so afraid of using Musisi’s traffic island lawns and getting arrested that we just walk on the tarmac, preferring the risk of life and limb to the risk of arrest by KCCA, marabou storks just stroll cockily over whatever lawn they please.
They are above the law as much as they are above the lawn.And they are too ugly to be arrested.
So you would presume it would take a very gifted driver to actually manage to nail one.
To actually be deft and dexterous, fast and furious enough if you will, to find a marabou stork in the road and still manage to get it and kill it and put it out of our misery before it can fly off to its escape, you have to be some sort of motor genius, like the ones I am using as subheads.(In case you were wondering what those were, they are the names of the kind of awesome driver who is most likely to kill you, but coolly).
You would be wrong, though. The prob¬ability that you have to be a really good driver to hit a marabou stork are high in other coun¬tries, but in Uganda, it is more likely that it was a bad driver who did it — a driver who was even worse than most of you are.
He or she is the one who was speeding with his headlights blazing and his hand on his phone and his brain left behind in 1988 who killed the bird.
Who killed Kaloli?