You are that person who from time to time enjoys a matatu ride in a ‘souped up’ matatu popularly known as nganya or manyanga; you know those with some dope type of artwork, loud music, comfortable seats, television sets and other fancy stuff. They are preferred by many because they are driven at neck breaking speed thus there is a perception that if you board such, you will get to your destination faster.
On this day, you are the stage and in the mood to ride in a nganya. Soon enough, you spot one and board it and get a seat next to one of the windows. Above your seat, there is a mid-range kind of speaker and you are sure to have a good music experience. Once in, two more passengers board and it sets off. Curiously though, the music is off but you convince yourself that the music will be on once you leave town. You are used to these kind of vehicles being driven at a relatively high speed but again you notice that the speed is quite slow. Again, you convince yourself that the vehicle will cruise at the high speed once it is out of town.
Few minutes later, the vehicle is out of town and your hopeful self is waiting for the music to come on and for the driver to also unleash the beast mode kind of speed associated with manyangas. Shock on you, the driver seems to have trouble engaging the gears. Some funny sounds can be heard coming from the engine. The conductor comes around to collect the fare. 80 Kenyan Shillings (USD 0.80) is the fare charged. Normal buses would charge half this amount but there is a popular Kenyan slogan coincidentally inscribed on the door of the vehicle ‘Starehe Gharama’ which loosely translates to ‘Comfort has a price.’
The conductor comes to collect the fare. You hand in your 40 Shillings but the conductor tells you that it is double that amount. You are pained as you put back your coins back to your pocket and fetch out a 1,000 Shillings note. This conductor looks at you and is like ‘You don’t have any money of a lesser denomination on you?’ to which you shake your head to mean no. He says that he will give you your change later on. You ask him about the music and he rudely answers that you can download your favourite songs from the internet. This whole incident just pisses you off.
As if that is not enough, it starts raining. The window frame is leaking. Your seat is getting wet. Oh no! You call the conductor who tells you to bear with the situation till you get to your destination. You are now angry. You regret why you even boarded this vehicle and also realize that the vehicle is taking longer than the ‘slow’ vehicles that you were trying to avoid. A passenger alights and you move to where they were seated but again, that seat is also wet. ‘I will just stand.’ You say to yourself.
Amidst the rain and fog, you see your stage. Finally! A sigh of relief. You ask for your change and the conductor feigns ignorance. He pretends not to even remember you. A fellow passenger threatens to beat him up and other passengers join in before he surrenders and hands the balance to you. After what seems like an eternity, the vehicle stops at your stage and you alight.
As it drives off, you note down the bus’ registration number and any other unique identifier because you swear to yourself not to ever board it again. ‘Nijikute!! Niwaijikuta!’ You say to yourself.