This is part two of the tiry journey to school one day…in case you didn’t read it you can get it here.
The day at school went well; despite the ‘Plague of the Not So Common Cold’ and the exploitation of ‘Route 86’ (those are stories for another day) and home time couldn’t have come sooner. I got my friend Mish (remember him from ‘the Princess and the frog?’) and we headed for the stage to get a matatu. It was around 5.30 in the evening. And as expected, the stage was flocked with a lot of people eager to get home; most of who were casual laborers at Industrial Area. They didn’t have much money so they either decided to wait for cheaper matatus or bar anyone from entering any matatu that charge ten shillings above the normal fare of 20 bob. And when the cheap matatu arrived you either join the very intense battle of getting in or stand aside; lest these hefty men maraud you over. It almost happened to a friend of mine Kerry; he’s like Peter Crouch of the England team only shorter. Luckily we helped him get in. Anyway, we were not in a mood for a scramble so we opted to walk ahead, way ahead where some passengers would alight and we would get in for reduced fare.
But just as we were leaving the stage, there was a bit of commotion between two touts as one wanted to reduce the fare and one threatened to beat him up if he did. And the casual laborers ‘cheered’ on in anticipation of a reduced fare. It didn’t take long before the fight started; we were in South B but the rules of fighting in Ngummo still applied because they were Route 33 Ngumo matatus. The rules were two: the first being no one is to try peacemaking while fight went on, or the people fighting will turn on you instead. The second is silence should be observed and commenting is to be done only afterwards. And so we tarried a little, watching them knock the lights out of each other.
Unfortunately, the tout with the cheaper fare won. Yes, unfortunately. For now the tout who wanted to charge more will be laughed at and elicit very very crude comments from the laborers, no matter how red he was with blood; or rather how brown he was with dust. And so as the victorious tout resumed his job we managed to get seats as others fought to enter the matatu.
Funnily enough, we enjoyed the ride, mainly because people from Kibera usually take the most trivial of things and have a forum about it. Almost everyone was commenting on the fight an befriended the tout, telling him ‘Good job. You da man!’ Others gave him pointers on how to fight better next time as the whole matatu laughed the incident off. I call it the Wanjiku effect. Even the tout could afford a smile, with a bruised lip. But that smile was shortlived.
As we approached the final accent to home, the matatu seemed to weaken considerably. It could not climb the hill. “Yes!!” Im sure people said in the hearts. It is somewhat known that people who board Ngummo matatus pray for them to break down midway the journey so that they would get a refund and walk the rest of the way. The matatus were weak anyway, and so this one choked…real hard and stopped.
“Haiya, pesa zetu basi” Translation: ‘Alright, refund please.’ And the tout was no longer their (our) friend as he had to refund us half of the 20 bob we gave him. Sadly. Though most of the passengers could alight and get home before the accent, most wait to see if the matatu will break down so they get some extra cash [that they need so badly] and prefer using the long route, by alighting at the terminus.
I felt bad for the tout, he fought hard for the people to pay less; well, they did pay less, though much less than he had in mind. And the previously friendly laborers left him and his driver reeling in his own loss…with a broke down matatu and a cut lip.
Just another day in Ngumo..
*’Kakkoi no Otou-chan’ is a Japanese translation of ‘Cool Dad’
*Disclaimer: The story may be 85% correct coz its what I heard and intel in Ngummo is somewhat trustworthy
It shouldn’t surprise you I remember my [late] father by his birthday (2nd May) rather than his day of demise. Let’s just say that’s me and that’s a topic for another day. And yep! Unlike most of you (:p) I had a cool dad. You know, the type that didn’t wear suits much, could hang out with your friends, anawagotea*, loved fun stuff and loved people. He had the nickname ‘Boxer’ ; ok, he was a boxer and did very well I must say; and he loved mock fights with me and my pals. I could say he was ‘burning with the flame of youth.’ He also had a habit of giving me unprecedented nicknames then strech my cheeks to make me smile when I started frowning. He had one lame joke, hmm…I think it was about a mosquito in France with a wooden leg…something something..we always put him off before he could finish so I still don’t know the answer, sadly. *Sigh* and he also had the habit of starting stories halfway…”And the elephant came!” ???
Particularly I remember one funny incident that happened quite sometime back. The details are a little bit sketchy so I’ll tell them to the best of my knowledge. One Sunday afternoon, my dad and my sister were coming home when apparently one of the estate boys lets out a comment that no one in their right mind would, especially if you were not strong and can’t run away from danger. Seriously, how do you call a woman’ fat’ in front of her own father?! Deathwish, perhaps? Anyway, so the guy manages to let out the word ‘fat’ accompanied by a small giggle. My sister glances back and then ignores the comment, like nothing happened. Strong lady Anne Orwa is, but that didn’t matter. I think I could say ‘the lion in my dad awoke’ and he turned to the retard. Silence. And to everyone’s surprise, the old man starts chasing this 21 year old.
Chasing! Believe it! He ran towards him and they went for a lap round the estate. A fifty something year old man against a 21 year old. That I can confirm because from the house you could hear his wailings and pleas of forgiveness. And they were loud and babyish so I came out to have a look. I didn’t know whether to laugh or to have pity but the estate was at a standstill as my dad caught up with the young lad and pinned him to the ground. “Sorry! Sorry!” I could hear the boy cry as my dad hit him with [dreaded] punches. After he had satisfied his boiling blood, he let him go and told him to run. He ‘happily agreed’ and sped by me and my other two bros, Ken and Josh, still wailing like a mad man. Then my dad just strolled home (my sis was long in the house) as if nothing happened.
Well, that was Peter Orwa for you. Just another day in the Orwa Household!