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Monday 10th July 2017

Normally when I am coming back from school I board at least two matatus home (kweli Rongai ni mbali), on this particular day I decided not to listen to music on my phone and pay attention to the environment around me.  Usually I plug in my earphones and wear them and listen to music in public, I only remove them when I meet an elder, or a friend, or when conversing with a vendor about his commodity of trade, especially the pineapple guy next to that petrol station.

I was expectant, really, I was hoping I’d see something different. When you listen to music you get lost in your own world, becoming oblivious of what is happening around you. I didn’t know that in a short while I’d see so much drama. There are many characters in a public service vehicle.  Here are some who caught my attention and some worth mentions:-

1. *Mr/Miss Jenga Mwili Haribu Jina*  From groundnuts to fries, there are only so many types of  food one could eat , but not in a matatu.  The above listed have a distinct smell, and it spreads all around , making it a rather uncomfortable trip to your destination.

2. *Mteja Wa Nambari* I love talking, I could talk from morning to evening. In a public vehicle, I try to tone down a bit, and keep the conversation as short as possible, but there are people out there who don’t have these restrictions.  This type will talk from the time the matatu leaves the stage upto the point he or she alights. Make no mistake, the volume is not controlled, they are as loud as they can get, they even laugh uncontrollably at whatever story they are being told.  You can actually gather information from the conversation, as no chills are observed, everything is put out in the open.

3. *Tafadhali Niambie Tukifika* Newbies.  Everywhere, All Round.  It’s there first time here, you can smell the fear of ‘kupitishwa’ or ‘conductor kusahau’ from a far. They keep nudging the conductor to stell them when they get there.  That day it was a girl whose hair was dyed red, had a skimpy skirt on and a bareback,had carried a jacket and a small bag, she was talking to a certain ‘My Heart’ , telling him/her that the conductor will show her where that supermarket is. Karibuni lakini, I hope you’ll love it here. The more , the merrier.

4. *The Couple* Lovebirds.  Aaah, you cannot miss this not so rare breed in a matatu, or on the streets and in restaurants.  Why they choose to display their affection I fail to understand.  Yes, It’s a free world,but you have the rest of the day together.  Why then do you insist on holding hands , kissing, hugging and getting extremely touchy in a matatu?  I don’t entirely hate PDA, but isn’t it sexier when it’s on the downlow?  I can’t help but notice the older women and mens’ profound disgust on their faces. If they had the power they’d smack you right there and then. Ama kweli, Mapenzi Kikohozi (It cannot be hidden). Please, get yourselves a room.

5. *’Boss, Wapi Change Yangu?* Indeed, once bitten, twice shy.  You can tell by the look on their faces that they have been deprived of ‘haki yao’ by conductors.  The urgency in their voices is enough to tell you that these people do not want to be robbed again.  They pinched their ears the day they alighted minus their change.  We really do learn from experience and past mistakes.  If the conductor is kind, he’ll give you your change instantly, if not he’ll probably wait till you set foot on your stage.

6. *A Zone Called Oblivion(The Confused And The Oblivious) Season 1* ‘Shukisha hapo Chap Chap!’ The guy shouted.  The actual stage was ‘Fairmat’ , In his defence, both of them are supermarkets. When we got to Fairmat, he shouted louder and louder , telling the driver to stop. The vehicle came to an abrupt halt. He alighted, cussing at the conductor, when he was at fault.  The poor conductor received backlashing of his life.  He was only listening to instructions. He didn’t respond. This was followed by a lot of giggles in the matatu. The man went home, still in his zone of oblivion. I doubt he figured it out.

7.  *Self Proclaimed Media Personality* This are my favourites, to be honest.  They are people who will see something and exclaim for everyone to hear.  They’ll see an accident and tell the story like he was there, even though no one is paying attention, they will soldier on , as the rest of the voyagers look with their mouths agape. In this category, there are other types who tell the whole matatu the story. They are talking to their seatmate, but everyone can hear it, giving vivid description, at times you feel like you know those people. Carry On Soldiers, You have a story to tell.

8. *Simba Mwenda Pole, Hula Nyama* ‘Hatuna haraka ya kufika!’ they’ll shout.  These human rights activists do not like speed and reckless driving.  They’d rather stick to the traffic instead of getting there quick. I prefer the latter, to be honest, stagnation frustrates me, literally. These activists’ flames do not get extinguished by the numerous insults hurled at them by the conductors, who do not at all mind their language. 8. *Ulisema Ni 50* They come, see,  but don’t conquer, to be frank. They assume that the money they have to offer is what is being charged and nothing more. This gets rather ugly as a heated exchange occurs between them and the conductor.  No one else is complaining, so that means indeed you didn’t ask first. They guilt trip the conductor, hoping that they’ll have the last laugh, but to no avail. Kuuliza Si Ujinga, before you board the vehicle, please ask how much it is.

9 *Usingizi mtamu si haba* Type of people that can sleep anywhere at anytime, even the bumps are not enough to destroy their goal of napping. They will sleep on the seatmate’s shoulder, who probably doesn’t know them. If someone is considerate, they’ll allow, probably because they were working late, or just tired from the day’s endeavors , but very few people can do that. Majority will be agitated, polite ones tapping the person and impatient ones ruthlessly shaking off the victim of slumber. 9. *Kelele Za Chura…* ‘Reduce Volume’  ‘Change Ngoma’ All these are pleas to deaf ears. Maybe the music wasn’t as loud when you boarded the vehicle, but as soon as you sat comfortably to read your ebook, the blaring sounds filled the atmosphere. Am sure earmuffs would do. I regret not the path I chose to forego earphones, in a short while, I had seen so much.  Life’s one big soap opera



Hi. Welcome to my makeshift blog (I'm saying this because I'd like to start a professional one - not sure when). I consider myself a good writer, I have a way with words. Welcome to my mind, it's a great place to be in, most times... P.S - If you feel uncomfortable around necessary truths that involve hard conversations, I'd not recommend... If you're here to support your girl, peep at what thoughts linger on her mind and maybe just get your mind off of things (because it doesn't always have to be that deep) I suggest you stay, you'd like it here... Love, light and a creative space, fam, Nkatha.

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