Of all the things that make me worry and get upset about this country, there is only one thing that irks me beyond belief – the public transport industry in Kenya. I mean, matatu’s have got to be God’s way of punishing Kenyans. Especially 44 matatu’s! I honestly believe the drivers were born with no common sense, no reason and no intellect.
Sometime last week, Safaricom and a bunch of other organizations launched a campaign called TOA SAUTI! The campaign is aimed at reducing the number of road accidents happening on our roads by providing a platform for Kenyans to speak up against reckless driving. Statistics show that 8 people die daily in Kenya from road accidents. I think this year we have lost more than 8 people daily. Anyway, so if 8 people die daily and we have 365 days a year then what we are saying is 2920 Kenyans die each year from road accidents. Those are many people. I saw the campaign in Friday’s paper and skimmed through it. I suspect there must be a number where passengers are supposed to SMS to alert cops on reckless driving. I never read the article comprehensively. I wish I did.
Last week, on Friday I get to town. Board a 44 mat and sit in front with the driver. For your information, the reason why I MUST sit in front is because it is the only way I will make sure the punks use the service lane and drop me off at the stage and not in the middle of the highway, where I have to jump over rails to get home. This is a lesson I learnt the hard way – after I lost my balance one night attempting to jump the rails and almost fell on the road and there was an oncoming car. Yes, I know… Life is hard when dealing with punks.
So, since it was a bit late, the mat took some time (about 30 minutes) to fill up. The following is a conversation between the driver and the guy seated next to me:
Driver (Holding a bottle of water): Boss, nimekaukiwa jo!
Random guy (Holding a bottle of coke): Pia mimi jo! Ni kubaya leo
Driver: Uko na <insert a sheng word> I do not remember what he said. I don’t speak Greek.
Random guy: Unaona ata yangu (the bottle of soda) haina kitu.
Driver: Hauna <insert sheng word>
Random guy: Sijafungua bado
Driver: Wacha ni mwage hii maji uni-sort.
*Random guy takes out a bottle of Johnnie Walker (Black Label) from his bag and opens it*
*Conversation with myself: Aaaah! That sheng word must have been referring to alcohol*
*Driver empties the bottle of water*
*Random Guy pours Johnnie Walker into drivers bottle till it’s three-quarter full*
Driver: Wazi jo! Umeniokoa sana.
*Driver drinks it neat till his bottle is quarter full*
WHAT THE HELL????
Me (to random guy): Excuse me, wacha nishuke tafadhali
Driver (while pointing at his “water” bottle): Madam unadhani nitalewa na hii?
Me (to random guy a bit irritated now): Excuse me, I need to alight.
*Random Guy Ignores Me*
*I stretch out to open the door for myself*
*Driver locks it from central lock*
Driver: Mrembo, si endeshi hii gari. Nabaki town. Nitaenda ikirudi.
Me: Then you should have no problem with me alighting. Fungua hi mlango na uwache ujinga! And what the hell is wrong with you? You think in thirty minutes you will be less drunk. FUNGUA MLANGO!
Me (to random guy): You must be a murderer. Why would you give someone driving you alcohol?
Random guy: Jaymo!(that is the drivers name), Fungulia huyu mrembo na wazimu zake ashuke
*Jaymo opens the door and I alight*
* I walk away pissed as hell and wondering why the hell random guy gave the driver alcohol*
*Conversation with myself: Crap! What if the mat gets an accident and the guys at the back don’t know the driver is drunk. You should have told the other people that the driver is on Johnnie Walker*
<It remained a thought>
Maybe I was acting all crazy and dramatic but I would rather be crazy than be a statistic than be among the 8!
I wished I had read the TOA SAUTI article thoroughly. Taken down the number and made my voice be heard.
One of my daily mantras is:
I do not feel obliged to believe that the same God who endowed us with sense, reason and intellect intended us to forgo their use ~Gallileo Gallilei~
I now know that there is an exception to every rule. Even that one.
Read about TOA SAUTI here.
Have a safe week.