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No hurry in Africa

They must be kidding, or maybe they contracted jungle fever. I do not understand it. There is no hurry in Africa. What Africa are they talking about? Maybe they are right, no one in Africa is in a hurry to handover power.

He was sited next to me. At the time, I was quite excited of the Huawei IDEOS phone, my first experience to own and play with the Android mobile phone operating system. I was seated just behind the drivers compartment and the engine of the Nissan 14 seater matatu, playing Angry Birds on my phone. On my left, he sandwiched me, a paper bag on his lap, next to the window, while she sat on left, next to the door. To have more space , I had lifted my feet and stepped on the top of the engine.

We alighted from the matatu in a hurry, it had stopped on the road, just on the entrance to the bus station, yet the entrance and most of the bus station was clear. They  could have dropped us off inside the bus station, but that was the past. My main concern was to cross the road  in a hurry before City Council of Nairobi askaris apprehend me for alighting in a non designated area. I had barely crossed the road when it hit me, my pocket was lighter. I was sure I had not left it at the office. I slowed down as I debated whether there was any point going back to look back for it. 


I had been in a hurry , I had jumped onto the next matatu without walking to the bus stop which was almost a kilometre up the hill. Near the Aga Khan Hospital, the matatu got stopped by a police officer, the driver, in a hurry, had picked up passengers on the road, and not the bus stop. We had to alight and catch another matatu to town.

A tout was calling for passengers to board  his matatu, and he only needed one more, me. The space was on a seat behind the engine. He asked the girl seated next to the guy with the paper bag to  switch seats so that I could be sandwiched between them, the girl was alighting soon. As I played with my phone, I had noticed the guy on my left exchange phones with the guy behind me. The girl  had alighted at the bus stop. That is why I was not surprised that I could not trace the matatu I had come in. It had been a setup. 3 men had made a quick Ksh 1700, a leather wallet and my identification documents. Probably the girl  was one of them , or she too had been a victim of a hurried back.

The next time, he was running next to the matatu as it went round the round about. He pushed open the window, but it took longer. He lashed out my hand, but all he grabbed was my wrist. I had heard him opening the window and the phone had moved the phone to my other hand. The matatu sped off, a missed opportunity to snatch a phone off a moving vehicle and make another quick buck.

This time round it was closer. She stood looking down, waiting for me to pay her dues for doing my laundry. I pretended to look for the money, but I knew it had been in one of the trousers in the laundry. It was not in the trousers, I had checked. Then I asked her. She admitted taking the money, her full dues, and pretended that she was actually asking for more - the clothes had been more than the usual. I wondered whether she had done it before, whether it was a reaffirmation of the thoughts on some Mondays when I was sure that I could not account for some money over the weekend. She lost her job, in a hurry to make a quick buck, which I suspected her husband demanded a share of.

Today it happened, well, it happens every day to many other people in Nairobi. A driver had stopped at the round about, but decided that the approaching vehicles were a bit slow, and gunned for the exit. The result- a collision with an oncoming vehicle that the driver could not see. Now they have to spend time at the scene, the time that they were trying to save. The blocked lanes would now result in traffic pile up.

Reminded me of last week when I had looked up from the novel I was reading to see that the road was clear. I was therefore surprised when the driver immediately stepped on the brakes. I was more than shocked as I watched a saloon car swerve by, driving on the wrong side of the road at high speed. As policemen tried to catch up with the vehicle on foot, the driver hit a pedestrian. A mob joined the chase, as the driver soon found himself in a dead end as he could not get past oncoming vehicles, ending up in a trench. He escaped on foot as the mob set upon the passenger, who was soon rescued by police. The car itself was a different story, in less than a minute, all accessories inlcuding tires  had been vandalised off the car. Makes you wonder how fast the people of Ngara can change a vehicle's tyres. The driver had probably been in a hurry , evading traffic, but ended up injuring an innocent pedestrian and benefiting those out to make a quick buck.

Matatus will not admit that they cause traffic jams in their effort to save time by stopping on the road, rather than off the road to pick passengers.

Buildings that are being built in a hurry occasionally collapse, trapping the builders.

All this happens in Africa, where there is no hurry.

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