Had it not been that someone was picking her up at the bus stage she would have alighted in the middle of the traffic and walked the remaining distance. More so she did not know her destination so all she could do was practise a little patience in the more often than not standstill traffic occasionally counting the number of cars on the other lanes.
If only her son Mboi had been with her he would have enjoyed the slow traffic since cars pretty much fascinated him.
She could picture him shouting, “Hey ma, see that car over there, yes that red one, it is a Prado. Oh , and that black one ahead of it in the other lane, It is a range rover sport…do you know ma’ that the owners of those cars must have a lot of money…they could be footballers you know, or maybe politicians(pause)…In fact I think they are politicians…those ones have a lot of money. See that over there, it guzzles fuel like crazy… (she could picture him pointing at one of the fancy cars and she would stare at him questioningly and puzzled.
“I know you are wondering how I know all that ma’ that is why you are staring at me like that, do not worry, I just know ( another pause) But ma’ why don’t you and pa’ own a car?… I mean at school we learned that coffee is one of the leading export earners in our country and considering that we grow it in our farm that simply means you and pa’ should have a lot of money to own a car, right? So why don’t you? Or did the teacher lie to us ma’?”
She would be left staring at him amazed by his ignorance and innocence at the same time wondering who’s to blame, the government, the economy or the traffic and all smiles she would respond, “You are just too young to understand my son and no, the teacher did not lie, work hard in school so in future you can get a good job in a big office and buy yourself a very nice car.”
He would pause for a short while then respond ,” but ma, I do not want to work in a big office, I want to be a footballer. ..”
A voice from the matatu tout signaling the last drop off point for the few remaining passengers startled her to reality. At last after what had seemed like eternity they had arrived and she could not have been more glad. Much more to her delight she saw her brother happily grinning at her through the window and so she alighted to meet him. They exchanged quick pleasantries and walked off through the many vehicles and crowded streets.
Everywhere looked like everywhere not to mention the very many people walking very fast in different directions. She was amazed at how so many people managed to move so fast and not yet stumble over one another. Her case was different though .Occasionally she did bump into two people who on each occasion seemed to stare at her as if she was some green alien from mars and utter some obnoxious words she could not fathom as they walked off.
‘What a crazy place’ she wondered. Unlike the country side it was so chaotic and noisy . The traffic was nothing to write home about either.
Amidst the several crucial tasks she had come to per take in the city she had always wanted to attend the coffee auction and since the opportunity had presented itself , her brother had promised to accompany her there and so it was the first place they headed to.
They entered the hall just about time the auction was kicking off. Had they delayed even a little bit they would not have made it in time. At least her waking up so early at the break of dawn had paid off by ensuring that she did not miss a thing. As they took their seats a sweet smell of coffee lingered in the air sweetly messaging their nostrils. On the microphone a tall dark skinned gentleman adorned with clear spectacles was taking off the auction through the first catalog and for the first time in her life she got a clear picture of a ‘digital’ system. Previously she had heard the term being used by politicians in their campaigns and could not fathom much about it. She tried to keep up with the sales proceedings capturing some while missing out on others. The prices were excellent , good ,fair, so so depending.
She was glad to be there since for a long time she had contemplated attending the auction since back in the village it was always after the auction that rumors started flying on how good or bad the payment was going to be. At last she now had a clue of the whole scenario and she was really amazed at how the bidding went on fast and silently and eventually the highest bidder getting it all. It was thus hard for her to determine which among the cool and composed occupants of the seats in front of her closed what bid and in no time the gentlemen and ladies who determined whether she would or not smile when the prices were back home had done their thing. She could not help but wonder if some of them drove some of the fancy cars she had spotted in the traffic and if so…
They left there and immediately after her brother treated her to some coffee and burger in one of the famous coffee shops in town. It had been a long time coming and a nice treat for that matter especially since the burger was a first for her. For a second she remembered hearing one of her nephews referring to his friend as a ‘burger’ and she wondered why he had called him out using a name for such a sweet delicacy!
The coffee left a nice and tangy feeling to her mouth and she ended up ordering for a second helping. It could have been because it was not a norm back in the village , more so she was hungry from the whole tedious journey.
Amidst chatting with her brother she took time to access the other customers in the coffee shop noting how a few of them laughed out a bit loudly in a carefree manner which gave her quite a homely feeling. Astonishingly most of them were busy scrolling through their phones barely communicating with the people they were with at the table. Even the few who were engaged in the hushed conversations and the ones engaged in loud Conversations occasionally took out their phones and did some scrolling and tapping and then placing them on the table and repeating the same after about every two minutes.
She could not help but wonder what it was with their phones so interesting since she only used hers to make or receive calls which did not happen that often and most importantly it acted as a torch at night while she conducted her house chores. She assumed maybe it was one of those things that come with being a town folk and she did not envy them one bit.
When their appetites were quenched her brother took her to the bus stage to his hood where she found a whole different joke was waiting. In the country side when a matatu comes you simply board but but there they had to line up in a rather long queue and she wondered how many more surprises a waited her. She would wait to see and experience them all and hoped Mboi would do well with the goats back home…