By January 24, 2018 January 25th, 2018 Long time ago

No. I would rather get out and wait for another Maruti.

Haya, utazaa tu ata wewe.

No response.

Ama ununue gari yako uache kisirani.

That was a conversation between a mother who was escorting her kids to school and bullying me into holding them and I. And by the way, Maruti is not the sheng name for a private jet, it is the means of transport in Masaku and its environs. They are 7seater suzukis whose manufacturers saw the world in a short angle and now tall people’s business while there is minding their heads.

You see (no? put your specs on), I needed to be in the office at 5.30am and since traffic is unknown in Masaku, 5.20 is a good time to board a maruti. Several passes, and the driver gets his hand out signaling it’s full; they must have learnt this sign language from traffic police. Kids are the target customers during these hours and I’m not in uniform. So, a certain mama with 4kids and I continue waiting until this one comes. The culture is that the pupils should hold each other and pay 10bob each. And the mama assumes I should dance to the song and hold one or two kids which I refuse (yes ego) and offer to alight for the pupils to fit, an act that makes her proclaim that I will also give birth. That is meant to take me to a guilty trip. It’s a Monday morning, and I opt to board another maruti as I enjoy the trip.


My age-mates were not lucky enough to see the 80’s but when our parents planned they harmoniously decided to make us 90’s projects. Here we are in the 90’s; roads have never seen nor tasted tarmac or murram. I still hold the memory of the first time I saw a tarmacked road; it was in KBC Channel one `habari ya saa moja by Badi Muhsini’ and that was virtual. My 6th sense thought it looked like sandpaper.  A moment of silence for the face mes; they were the coolest thing then, and the cerelac generation will nickname them useless. We would have seats which looked like forms on either side and then a chuma on the middle. We the kids were meant to:

  1. Enter the matatu facing behind.
  2. Go to the end if you are the first in line. If there are other people, stop where the other person is.
  3. Hold the chuma until you reach your destination.
  4. If you are 11years and below, find someone who can hold you and find your peace until destination.

Michuki came to save us. The face mes could overload up, down and in and be driven at very high speeds in untarmacked roads. If you were going to an important place, it was advisable to tie a leso as you enter the matatu because you never know whether the child you will hold have some nappies on. We persevered; it was all we knew as the means of transport. What choice, therefore, did we have? 14seater nissans came accompanied with seatbelts and yellow lines with names of places. One Sunday morning, mum sent me to Nanyuki, and I had mastered this matatu that is written Nanyuki Nyeri Nairobi and I waited for it for 2hours in our village stage; what was the need of going to town stage to board a Nanyuki mat if this one is going direct. The mat was full when I entered which triggered me to ask `kwani watu wengi wananenda aje Nanyuki leo’. The way people laughed at me confirmed I had a loooong way to go with villageness (it is the slang name for ushamba).


Anyway, after remembering those face mes, I am here feeling guilty for not holding those kids. Strangers held me too. Let me find comfort by saying I had missed feeling guilty.


The Unique Mumbi

About The Unique Mumbi

I smile a lot; let’s just say I am a smiling machine. I have never felt how it feels to have an English name; in that case, you can call me unique. Writing became part of me after my first and best heartbreak ever. Wasn’t this man an angel? Slow internet makes me want to scream, and cashew nuts love me too.

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