I love travelling! It comes with a number of fun-filling moments and many things to learn from. It relieves me of unnecessary worries-you know we all have those little or big things that persistently tend to nag us even when we clearly don’t want to be nagged, but it’s life anyways!- Travelling gives me a brief respite from the somehow dull and dreary daily routine, it gives me an opportunity to be with my near yet so far away dear ones, it increases the frontiers of my knowledge, I get to make new friends and learn their customs, habits and traditions, and so many other things. My reasons are just endless!
So this past weekend, now that I’m finally able to move around pain free and without aid, Allahu Akbar- I boarded a bus en route Matoke land, to at least have a taste and feel of fresh air, (man the city air can be so toxic, but maybe it’s gonna be better because statistics have ranked us less toxic now) Upcountry makes me exercise my eyes on green leafy vegetation, blue skies, fine, refreshing breeze, oh, how heavenly! It’s such a blessed land. They say Jesus had his lunch there, on his way to Jericho. How true that is, is a question to ponder!
Did I mention that my bus trips become more exciting especially when it’s dark hour? I love silent nights, and please don’t confuse my love of darkness with anything sinister. But imagine watching from a moving vehicle, little stars winking then disappearing, flashing on and off through a murky haze of black, shining bright like a red conflagration in a dry forest. Interesting, right? I know….I at some point saw a shooting star or meteoroid, whatever, and quickly made a wish. But that’s my secret, *Giggles*
Now we were halfway. So we took the usual stop over that happens within a locality that harbours a section of our own with Africanly beautiful names like Ololchike, Lesuuda, to name but a few. But why do they sound so colourful though…? Anyway….So here, those who want to ease themselves, stretch or have something to bite, will do so at a maximum timeline of ten to fifteen minutes. I chose to remain on my seat, loosened up my safety belt, stretched my legs the farthest I could and reached for my phone to browse a bit. The lady next to me happened to be sailing on the same boat with me. She wasn’t interested in going out either. For close to three hours that we had been on the road, she had been in endless phone conversations with a number of people, laughing unpleasantly loud, discussing almost everything and anything! It was a bit irritating, but she was having the time of her life and I didn’t therefore want to sound selfish by telling her to keep it on the low. Maybe she was taking a break from a place where people are prohibited from shouting or laughing. So I let her be! “You’d not buckled up your safety belt?” I struck a conversation. “Please ensure you do so on the rest of the journey. It’s a life saver” A pregnant pause followed, I didn’t want to go into further details concerning my past experience. But it got me worried, that until now, we still take road safety for granted. It’s heart-wrenching!
“Put on your shoes properly!” A voice, loud enough to deafen one’s ears suddenly came through. It was as loud as a bottled thunder! It shook me. It was terrifying. I quickly sat upright and with disbelief, my eyes set on this old lady, unsteady on her feet, drowsy in her movements, desperately struggling to clutch clumsily at the bus seats. I didn’t get it at first. I wanted to comprehend what the hell or heaven was taking place. Come on! I reckon she must have been in her early 70’s because her face seemed world weary, time chiselled and weather beaten. Her uncovered head looked cleanly shaven, revealing very short strands of smoky grey hair. She looked weak and sickly. It seemed to me that she’d just been discharged after quite a long stay in hospital. (Clear effects of the doctor’s strike, maybe)….She struggled on, on her own, ebbing the discouragement with careful patience, and yes, there she was! She got it right. She managed to fit them on her feeble feet well. They were not shoes per se, but red sandals or what we usually know as “slippers”.
All this while I was actually watching, my throat passage getting narrower and narrower with each passing second, getting choked up with emotions. The bus had like two steep stairs at the entrance which proved to be a challenge for her descent. Remember, until that moment, I had not yet known whose that first raging sound was. I seriously wanted to help this lady. But wait, this is Africa o! In case something happens like a trip and fall situation or someone takes their last breath while in your hands and Lord forbid, you might be stoned to death for allegations of “bad omen”.
Ahem! There she was, right outside, still issuing commands at the poor old lady! I wouldn’t wish to sound offensive by calling her fat-belly with an uncommonly large, hulking figure, but it’s her totally indiscriminate affection towards the old lady that made her ugly! “Pandikizi la mtu”, standing shamelessly and ordering the poor lady to “Hebu shiklia hapo ushuke haraka”, with a number of us watching. At that very moment, my mind quickly registered two things: to shame the woman or to go ahead and help the old lady. I finally summoned up the courage to support her, and chose that moment to act, let come what may. “Shosh, wacha nikuje nikusaidie” she fumbled for words and uttered something I didn’t get to understand but it didn’t matter. It was evident that she needed help.
“That is definitely her daughter in-law, Huyo hawezi kuwa msichana wake” Muttered the lady I was sharing the same seat with. Well, it could be true, I thought…Before my arms could reach for the poor old lady, the alleged daughter in-law flung furiously towards the door, got hold of her kind of scruffy blouse that was barely covering her sagging shoulders, and recklessly pulled her out. My heart hammered like a piston on my chest. My nostrils literally flared. If I had a gas canister at that point, believe me I’d punch it directly onto her face and send her on her way to the maker to face a sooner than soon judgement. “Jamani mshiklie vizuri!” I exclaimed! She didn’t even turn her head. They disappeared into the darkness.
I stood there, a bit confused, and trust me tears welled up my eyes. I thought of someone mishandling my own mother in such a cruel manner and I couldn’t help but tremble with fury, I thought of the old lady and a made a sincere request to God “in my elderly years, please surround me with people who care”. I sighed and slowly headed to a nearby cafeteria and ordered for a take away mug of hot coffee, to at least calm my nerves. I quickly dashed back to the bus, with a sort of blank head, not having my normal excitement of travelling anymore.
But that was only a trip to my homeland. If exploring the world would be free, oh dear, you would never see me again!