Sometimes, the driver gets engrossed in the discussion because he has the benefit of having participated in similar discussions throughout his career.

He will slow down and gesticulate vigorously, sometimes acting as the debate moderator.

Thanks to these discussions, the first part of the journey from the city to the first stopover in a town called Githunguri seems shorter.


It is the last phase of the journey to my village that is a nightmare. The matatus depart in intervals of two hours if you are lucky to be travelling on a market day.

On non-market days, the wait for the matatu to fill up is indefinite and torturous.

The first passenger arrives and waits for about an hour before the second passenger shows up.

As soon as the second passenger gets in, the first passenger who is now already tired and hungry excuses themselves and disappear into the alleys.

When a third passenger shows up, the second passenger disappears and the first passenger comes back.

This positive displacement goes on until the matatu fills up which is many hours later.

The matatu will not leave the town before it passes through several designated stopovers.

The first stop is barely ten metres away from the terminus where we are driven into a petrol station for a refill.

You wonder why the driver did not do this critical task before departure time.

The visit to the petrol station is not complete before the tyres are checked for pressure and the radiator coolant is added.

There is always something to be checked in the engine that necessitates half the passengers to alight, further delaying the journey by 30 minutes.

After the petrol station the matatu makes a few other stop over at the hardware and animal feeds shops picking farm inputs that belong to some of the passengers already inside.

Just before the assistant driver pushes some water pipes and roofing sheets under the seats, he orders all of you to lift up your legs.

The response is almost reflex, failure to which you may get your feet amputated.

The journey finally begins, and the discussions here are more intense but more localised.

A fellow passenger will greet you and ask you a bit loudly how life in Nairobi is unfolding.

The matatu goes silent and all attention turns to you, they all expect a detailed feedback from you about the state of the nation.

When you finally land in my village, you will be suffering from a condition which is equivalent to a severe jetlag.


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