Friday, 20 January 2017

KITENGELA AT NIGHT

EDWIN KIPTANUI CHIRCHIR edchirchir@yahoo.com edchirchir85@gmail.com

PICTURE CREDIT: pixabay.com

Recently, something (a voice within my head) lied to me that I could leave Kitengela for Nairobi, then to Eldoret at night.

The voice, which I think is a spirit or a soul within me said, "You are a man bwana, men travel at night. Night time is adventurous" and so I agreed to the flattery from the voice.

And so it was that I left the house at around eight o'clock in the evening, to guarantee that I get a Matatu to Nairobi.

I walked past that club near Arusha meat den and it was still clear, and by clear I mean those girls who normally gather around there wearing almost nothing had not yet assembled to look for customers who might be interested in nocturnal adventures. I therefore enjoyed my peace as I passed by.

There is a time I was walking past that club at 11 p.m and one of the girls called out, "Pst! Sema customer" (also interpreted to mean welcome customer). That made me blush. Being referred to as customer by those girls, makes you look and feel guilty, because it implies that you are a frequent beneficiary from their services. Let me make it clear here that I have never developed any appetite for whatever they sell. I know you are already asking what I was doing there at 11 p.m in the first place. Well! I had just arrived from Nairobi, thanks to endless traffic jams, which ensured that I was late. If you don't believe me then I don't blame you. Even the Missus found it hard to buy that story. That is not even what I wanted to tell you, please don't give me that look. I don't even have anything against those girls. I know life can be unkind sometimes.

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Okey folks, back to business, where were we? travelling? Oh yeah travelling. So, I board my favourite matatu, lets call it Mzigo shuttle, because I won't mention any names here, for my own safety. I do not want anyone laying an ambush on me in some dark street and breaking my neck. I am afraid I want to speak some crap about them. The matatu looks almost full. In fact, the tout is only looking for two more people. I board it but the strange thing is that every time a passenger boards, another passenger alights. The matatu crew was employing a trick where some people who have no intention of travelling whatsoever, take the seats, to give the customer the impression that the Matatu is almost leaving (nothing attracts a passenger like a matatu which is full and almost leaving). The occupants of the seats then get out one by one as new customers get in. I thought we had outgrown such dirty tricks. I felt molested.

You see, the main reason why I was impatient was because I wanted to be in Nairobi just on time to get that North coach bus, which is spacious and affords you the chance to feel like you are on a plane. I have never seen the inside of a plane before, so pretending to be in one is a welcome relief. Inside the North coach, you can watch movies, read a book, sleep and even charge you phone. Couples even get the privacy to cuddle and fondle (you know I am kidding here right?), but from the look of things, I knew I was going to miss the North coach, oh my dear North coach.

Back to Mzigo shuttle, we finally left after what seemed like an eternity. The matatu crew was very rowdy and the interior of the vehicle crowded that night. Traffic rules were flouted with reckless abandon. The vehicle was overworked an molested severally as the tout banged on the door, to alert the driver to stop for more customers.

And then there was music. Someone told me that before Satan became rebellious, he used to be an angel in charge of music in heaven. I have a reason to believe that on that particular night, Satan himself took charge of the vehicles music system. (by the way, is Satan a 'he' or 'she'?).

The music was arrogantly loud. Did you really get that? No? Lets try it again. I have just stated that the blaring music from those unkind speakers was painfully loud and harsh to our ears. To survive, you had to keep your mouth open exposing your teeth, and your face contorted, making you look like someone who has not had a decent meal for several days. I mean have you ever listened to music and instead of the music soothing your soul, it rains punches and kicks on you? That is what happened to us. At some point I think I could feel my heart beating in the same rhythm as the music.

One more thing, the tout who forgot to return my twenty shillings change was surrounded by groupies. They were probably what I believe to be some close friends of the tout. They stood inside the bus while some hanged by the door, to avoid paying the eighty shillings fare. Most of them were chewing miraa. (khat), leaving some unsightly green substance on the corners of their mouths. Please if you want to enjoy miraa, take it with a soft drink to wash down that disgusting green substance.

I used to think that only celebrities have groupies, but it seems I was terribly wrong. Some members of  the tout's close circle of friends were singing badly alongside the loud music, from the music system. Some even attempted to dance by shaking their unappealing bottoms. Dear gentlemen, I always hold this belief that only ladies should be allowed to shake their bottoms. Not Men. The men can shake any other parts of their anatomies but definately not their behinds. There is nothing to write home about a man's bottom (whether humongous or tiny).

And then, there was that small matter we need to discuss about men. Almost ninety nine percent of the occupants of the vehicle were men. I know I am one of them but I will still pause the question. Where exactly do all those Kitengela men travel to at night? Do we really have men left in Kitengela at night? Who takes care of the women, uh?

The funny part is that, with all that nocturnal rowdiness, the Kitengela Matatu crew members are the most disciplined during the day. I do not know what gets into them at night. Another thing, just so you know, I missed the North coach. Oh! my dear North Coach.








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