EDWIN KIPTANUI CHIRCHIR email@example.com firstname.lastname@example.org
PHOTO CREDIT: pixabay.com
It is on a Friday. I am supposed to be in Tigoni, somewhere on the shoulder of Limuru by 10:00 am to attend to some private business. That means I am supposed to leave Kitengela by 5:00 am, in order to get to Tigoni by 10 :00 am. By extension, it means I am supposed to wake up at 4:00 am, just to beat the Nairobi city traffic jam, the price you have to pay for having to go through Nairobi, to get to your destination.
Kitengela is quite cloudy this morning, but I am not worried because all you will ever get from the dark and angry Kitengela clouds is not rain, but empty threats. What I am worried about is the distant clouds, hanging over what I suspect is Limuru. Those ones rarely issue empty threats. You see, the missus has decided to come along and she has decided to 'freeze and shine'. This means I might have to act like a perfect gentleman, by giving her my coat, later on when the weather conditions of Limuru change for the worst.
We get to Nairobi city at 7:00 am, can you imagine? Thanks to his desire to beat the traffic jam, the driver of the 'Rembo Shuttle' diverts us from Mombasa road, through what I believe is Syokimau. I think at some point we find ourselves in south C, then later south B then to some mind boggling maneuvers through most of the streets of south B. Finally and to our great relief, we find ourselves at Muthurwa Market, then Haille Selassie avenue, about two hours since we left Kitengela. May be you are wondering what the fuss is all about. Well, on a normal day, especially when the African gods are in a good mood and are belching after consuming a generous sacrifice from it's subjects, you will get to Nairobi from Kitengela in a 'cool' 20 minutes. Now you know.
Finally in the city, our next assignment is finding a vehicle to Tigoni. You see, my decision to tag the missus along was because she is a 'Meru' and 'Merus' are the cousins to the 'sons and daughters' of Mumbi, so surely she must know Limuru like the back of her hand, No? It turns out that I was wrong. She told me to wait for car number 135, but then, finding those vehicles in the morning is a nightmare. But at least, she came in handy by ensuring that I got no chance to admire the legs of Njeri and Waithera, he! he! (hope she is not reading this. She has recently developed some unhealthy appetite for reading what I write).
Thanks to one helpful tout, we get into car number 116, which takes us through Banana. Most conversations in that car are punctuated with words like mbeca (money) and Eeeni (Yes, it is so). It seems people from Limuru area, are fond of sealing deals, especially those involving money.
Another thing, people from Limuru rarely carry foodstuffs from Nairobi, as they travel back because guess what? Limuru is the bread basket of Nairobi. This is unlike the residents of Kitengela, who carry lots of food stuffs from the city. Foodstuffs probably brought in from Limuru.
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The tout had promised to take us all the way to Limuru, but instead, he 'sells' us to another vehicle at Banana, since he figures out that it is not economically viable for him to take the two of us to Limuru, from where we would board another vehicle to Tigoni. (By then, I had not discovered that when using the Banana route, Tigoni comes before Limuru).
So we set off aboard another vehicle from Banana to Tigoni. I make it clear to the tout that we must alight at Kenchic and he agrees to remind me when we get there, but since he is busy making phone calls and talking about 'Mbeca' he forgets. Was is not for the intervention of one woman (also a passenger), who reminds us that we are at Kenchic in Tigoni, we would have probably ended up in Limuru Town.
The distance from Kenchic, to my final destination, a place called Bachia farm is only 900 metres. We can actually walk, but I am not willing to take any chances, lest I end up in the wrong destination. By the way I saw a number of 'Odieros' in Tigoni. One was walking his dog along the road and they have been known to take stern action against trespassers in their farms, so, no taking unnecessary risks, thank you very much. Bachia farm is well known to the Bodaboda riders and Taxi drivers, so it was easier taking that option.
Competition for customers among Taxi and Bodaboda operators is high, especially at the Limuru girls road junction. So I end up between two men, a motorcycle rider and taxi driver, each trying to convince me to be their customer. I end up confused and lost, unable to make a decision on my mode of transit. I do not know how to choose one, without making the other feel bad (I hate breaking hearts you know). The missus gave me that look (rolls eyes) she always gives me whenever I am unable to quickly make decisions.
The competition between the two was so intense that the motorcycle operator started with one hundred shillings and kept reducing the price rapidly to around sixty shillings for the missus and I.
The taxi driver (a chap called Kevo) on the other hand wants us to pay 100 shillings and is not in a hurry to reduce the price (Don't you just love his confidence and tendency to stick to his decisions? I bet Kevo is very loyal to his wife, if at all he is married). But a man has to make a statement, especially when standing next to his missus, so I pay 100 shillings for the taxi, leaving the motor cycle rider sulking and wondering how stupid I am to pay more. But can you blame me? There was no way I was going to allow the missus to squat over a motorcycle, while holding the rider by the waist in my presence. How could I let that happen, when there was a spacious taxi, which I could afford? By the way, I discovered that I could afford a taxi in Limuru and not any where else in Kenya, apart from Gakoromone stage in Meru.
Nine hundred metres later, I am at my destination. Kevo gives me his phone number, because he wants to come back for me later, so that he could squeeze more money from me (I told you, Limuru people love mbeca so much).
On my way out, I meet an 'Odiero' exercising along the Limuru girls road with his dog. Another Odiero, says 'Hi' in Swahili and it sounds like, "Hebawri yeinu wowtey!' but I happily respond and even show him my Nike finger (thumb) while saying "Hakuna matarra" (Hakuna matata) even though I still think 'Ndugu' Swaleh Mdoe should give them serious Swahili lessons.
We decided to walk back to Kenchic. I could not call the taxi driver, who had given me his number, not that I did not like him, but because the tea farms in Tigoni were too seductive that I had to just enjoy that sight.
The air around Tigoni is so cool and fresh, that it makes you reluctant to go back to the noisy and polluted city of Nairobi. In fact, I would suggest to you dear reader, that if you find yourself in Tigoni or anywhere else within Limuru, Just take a walk across the various tea plantations and while at it, close your eyes and breath! Yes, take a deep breath and feel the way Limuru oxygen gently and lovingly caresses your lungs, unclogging the airway and freeing it from the bondage of Kitengela dust and the city smoke. Yes, allow the Limuru oxygen to penetrate deep into your brain, making you hallucinate. Let it massage your body tissues and muscles, because you never know, that oxygen might actually give you a new lease of life.
To take the adventure further, the missus suggested and I approved that we head to Limuru town, from where we were to take a vehicle to Nairobi, through Kangemi - Westlands route, but then before I could sit properly in that vehicle, we were already in the all familiar and monotonous, Nairobi - Nakuru highway, somewhere near Kangemi. I wished I had taken the Ndenderu route. Of course as we made our way back, there was so much talk about 'Mbeca' in that vehicle.