Home So you want to travel upcountry? Think again

So you want to travel upcountry? Think again


Traveling upcountry is usually an important occasion to most Kenyan families, where one has the chance to meet with lost relatives and reunite with past memories. Some are sweet, some are unforgiving and bitter. And for the small kids it’s a time to show off their latest town wear and share in the freedom that is the countryside. And all this has to start with a journey and what a journey it is with all sorts of incidences and sideshows taking place.

At the bus stage is where the drama begins. Noise fills the air with touts shouting all stages along the route and their fares. Each tout has a unique reason as to why you should get into their vehicle,

“Boss, this bus was officially opened by the PM…”

“Mzee get into mine the seats inside are just like those in a Ferrari jetliner…”

“Madam this one uses the same fuel as Obama’s jet…”

These  and many more obvious exaggerations.
For those whose face reads of unfamiliarity with upcountry traveling, they become victims of shoving and pushing between touts and also the cause of insults between them. So you have finally chosen your bus and sat down ready to relax, when a very huge lady sits next to you. Her face is a cake of the many
cheap creams in the Kenyan market, bleached she is almost like an albino. She  squeezes your face to window taking half of your seat and giving you more reason to appreciate your wife’s size. Not to be
forgotten is the fact that she has doused herself in gallons of strong Somali perfume.
But fat lady (who, luckily to your eardrums isn’t singing) is the least of your worries. There is a preacher in the bus who is, supposedly, blind and screaming at the top of his lungs on the importance of giving unto the needy and disabled. Just when you think the preacher has ended his sermon on the bus out of the blue a ‘choir’ emerges singing as he goes round the bus taking sadaka from the passengers. When he gets to you, you deem him a quack and opt not to give him but he is adamant and doesn’t leave.  A minute passes he is still there this time the ‘choir’ changes to a faster and louder song,

“…toa ndugu, toa dada ulichonacho wewe…”

In reply,  the preacher, amidst all the noise shouts,

“…and the enemies of the lord shall perish…”

Fat lady is urging you to give him something and more out of the need to spare your tortured
soul further anguish you decide to give him 20 shillings and oddly enough the pastor clicks at you.

The bus roars to life and you breathe a sigh of relief, finally some peace and quiet or so you think. Unluckily the bus driver considers himself a rally driver who was denied sponsorship and to prove his point he drives as if the devil was after him, overtaking cars and avoiding the tourist sites that are our potholes while in the process you are being turned left right and center and the fat lady squeezes you against the window with each bump.

Source: http://kenyan-poet.com

Source: http://kenyan-poet.com

Somehow you start fearing that the preacher’s words will come to pass. Thankfully enough though, the journey comes to an end, albeit with many results. There is poop and feathers from the chicken that got loose in the bus, your clothes are covered in fragments of biscuits and groundnuts that fat lady ate and you have finally regained your belief in God as a result of the praying you did in the bus. Now what remains a trip to your rural home. But that is a story for another day.
Bzar Tonny

His Blog

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