The driver

When I started living here, there’s something I found hard to understand. People flag down all kinds of cars. Trailers, personal vehicles, matatus, you name it. And funny enough, they stop! Try doing that in Nairobi. Needless to say, I learnt to do what the Romans do when I got to Rome. That’s how yesterday, I found myself in a matatu on transit to Uganda.

I was already in the vehicle when the driver requested me to sit next to him. And since we were just the two of us, it was only logical that I do so. Thus I obliged to the request; my mistake number one!

No sooner had I sat next to him than I realized that the guy was not normal, on the seat between his legs was about a kilogram of miraa. That I did not mind. But I did mind the fact that he’d take so long to remove the miraa leaves or unwrap the gum, all the while using both hands while I sat there scared shitless.

At one point, we were speeding right in the middle of the road and I could contain myself no more. ‘Could we keep left?’ I asked. He smiled sweetly and was like, ‘You’re scared, right? Don’t be. I’ve driven like this from Mombasa.’

As he did what I asked, something hit me on the foot. It was one of his shoes. He was driving bare foot! Well, he wore his socks alright, but with no shoes! The other one was wedged somewhere between our seats.

Look how my hands are shaking!! 🙂

I wanted to alight, but the guy was very, very friendly. When he wasn’t spitting out the window, which was dangerous on its own, he was telling me how cold he felt given the fact that he lives in Mombasa. And to prove his point, he’d let go of the steering wheel to hold up both his hands so I could see just how much he was trembling. In the process, he’d realize that his nails were kind of dirty, and by kind of I mean very dirty, and he’d start to meticulously clean them.

I can’t tell you how relieved I was when I finally paid him and left.

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