Sorry Ngo! – I Hate Builders


John Ekongo

If you ever ask me to lump the people and professions that I hate, not by choice but rather by performance and nature of their work, then I must admit that it would be a painful exercise.

Since you ask me nicely, I will mention a few. First on the list are obviously the smartly dressed ladies and gentlemen at the banks, specially my bank (I won’t say which, I am a public figure) for turning down my asset loan application again (I lost count), but I suspect the gentleman I bribed at the Credit Clearance Agency did not do his work. Anyway it looks like getting my own set of wheels will take a bit longer than the liberation years.

Next are the medical aid industry guys who, despite paying a hefty premium on your apparent scare of health, still restrict you on what to do with it. As luck would have it, they have made it their business to regularly send brochures and pamphlets on how not to get sick, which in the end means that they can help themselves to your money at will.

The rationale defeats the purpose – medical aid should assist me when I get ill, so they have no business trying to keep me healthy. It is like having a car with no steering wheel, how do I turn?

Oh! Almost forgot, yes, I still do hate the Ministry of Mines and Energy, no offence but that fuel pump is having an effect on every aspect of my life, seriously.

And I still hate the Ministry of Finance building (the taxman), there was a time when I thought that having a tax number is a status symbol, not anymore, if I get to be slapped half of my salary.

But of late I have added another group of haters on my growing list, this time it is the infamous breed of builders.

As a man of the house I wanted to show masculinity and have an ego boasting experience.

So I had made a mental plan to extend and renovate the old lady’s 1959 “Die Kaap Van Die Goeie Hoop Provisionele Administrasie” constructed house.
The same notoriously constructed houses with the measurement of a cargo container, History has it that back then the “Stad Klerk of Walvis Bay” in today’s lingua franca that is to say Nilo Taapopi’s position, running short of measurement ducts, opted to use a cargo container as measurement, and build houses using the print-outs of the structures.

As you would have imagined, it would obviously need more than just a coat of paint. So I had to use the wireless to request building material quotations.

Then I taste first hand the brunt of these conniving good-natured souls.

If it is not the tiles, then it is cement, no matter how many times I tell the builders to send me a complete invoice with all the goods and materials needed, this never happens. All I get is a nod over the phone, saying: ” Ja ou grote jy hoef nie te worry nie, ek maak so… moet jou oor niks bekommer nie Ou baas.” Usually after hearing these sugar-coated words I always end up losing my judgment, because he called me ‘a laanie’ and you and I know how it feels to be Afrikaner. At the sound of those words I go dreaming about my safari shirt, with a real Swakopmund Tannery veldskoen side comb tucked in the socks I bought from Cymot, or the ones the army gave me and my imaginary Toyota Bakkie, with a bullbar, hydraulic wing jack and a double tank – enough of that.

Needless to mention, the guy never does what you ask him to do. And when he eventually gets round to do anything, halfway through the building, he calls requesting for an advance pay. If you don’t pay, to make things easier he asks if he can sell some materials and then I can deduct from his pay.

Faced with that predicament, you wire some money, that won’t last long. He calls you again, this time asking on behalf of his henchman. I even had the wife of one of my contractors calling asking for an advance on the husband’s behalf. The following day the contractor and his henchman never pitched up for work, thanks to the advance pay.

For that I will never trust a builder again.

Sorry Ngo!


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