The inevitable happened. On the day I had two very important meetings, my car broke down. I am that person who only feels safe in her car – no taxis, boda bodas, and definitely, no matatus.
I am spoiled in my mature years and willing to pay the average Sh500 per trip whereever I go. Fortunately, the meetings were in the same neighbourhood.
After the first meeting, I had some time to kill and gather my nerves to move to my next appointment. I went to a nearby cafe to ponder my fate.
I know, it ‘ain’t that serious,’ but for someone who has been driven everywhere for the past eight years, it was not something to be taken lightly, particularly in light of stories about people being drugged, robbed and stripped in matatus.
There have even been harrowing tales of taxi drivers diverting from your requested route to unknown destinations.
As I exited the cafe, there was an empty matatu waiting for me like a chariot for Cinderella.
I approached the tout like a New York poker player. I asked him, “Do I have to wait here until it fills up?” He laughed and said no, that he just needed two people to get moving.
Sure enough they arrived and I sighed, made the sign of the cross and entered. I took a strategic seats to avoid having to get out or get climbed over.
I sat behind the driver who was also constantly on the lookout for passengers and any narrow opening to quickly advance to his destination. I became the tout’s assistant, handing money to him from the shoulders he tapped.
I proudly handed over my Sh20 wondering how anyone made a living at that rate. Now seasoned, I hailed another matatu for my journey back home.
I imagined all types of people ride mats, including funky looking ones like me with my big Afro wig and wild-coloured clothes.
But I think I still looked like I did not belong. When we stopped to let passengers alight, a motorcycle taxi was waiting at the stage. I could almost hear his eyes telling me, “What are you doing in there? Come on out and let me give you a ride.”
I was good with my current ride and proudly offered my Sh20 for the return ride. It was a major step towards freedom for me.
I am not getting stranded ever again for lack of a car!


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *