A passenger’s terminal characterized with hordes of people is what I had expected; I was right. It was minutes past noon when I arrived at the place, took a shelter from the scorching sun under a standing by young lady’s umbrella; she gave me a smile that caught me by surprise. A call came in from my host, I was to take a matatu heading for a small town East of Eldoret about fifteen kilometers from the hub.
A clear label read ‘number 13’ on a board placed on top of a green matatu, this was my ticket. Vehicles plying root thirteen were different; one of those that were popular back in the days that saw six passengers sit on opposite sides facing each other. More like an enclosed pickup. Two others got to sit on the far end as if to mediate between two opposing sides. I would later learn that only these type of vehicles were able to endure the pathetic road that lead one to the small town. Life is all about facing situations, realities and challenges. Here I was, facing strangers and trying my best to put a friendly face to an otherwise total alien world. Anyone looking for a comfortable ride was mistaken and as a sicker inside the matatu read ‘plan b: buy your own’, it was perfectly right. My grandpa always said that we should accept the situation we are in and using what we have at the moment in the hope that things will get better in the future. I got to see the point.
In no time we were on the road. The matatu was overcrowded. The three extra passengers had to squat since there was no more sitting space. Among them a middle aged woman, whom we were locked to eye contact for a while, each other seeming to pity the other though it was quite clear that she deserved all. Then it hit me that I was selfish. I had only thought about myself. I had been thinking that it was only hard for me but at least I was in a chair compared to some stranger lady. Due to to the overloading, the driver had to drop his ‘token’ to the witty traffic police in a couple of road blocks; in life there are many injustices. Just before we took off the main road into a rough road that leads to the small town, the driver takes a sudden halt that causes as to be pushed forward. This leads to a random thought in my mind. When we face hard times, we are not the only ones. Most at times, we tend to think that life is unfair to only us. No. More passengers were picked up. This left me shocked. Among the new passengers was a young lady with a baby. I could tell she was a new mother. The lady had to hand over her kid to a girl that sat at the far end as she had to squat. The girl seemed not to know how to handle the baby and she was soon crying. That led me to another conclusion. Life at times forces us to watch as our loved ones undergo pain in our watch. We want to do something but it becomes entirely impossible and all we have to do is sit back and just watch, just like the lass did, watching her child crying from a distance.
A closer look and one could see a sigh of relief as we delighted from the vehicle at the small town. Reaching the destination is what mattered most and not the means under which one had to endure. It was almost a norm as my host would later tell me. I took a deep breath as the conductor collected fare from the individuals keenly looking as the young mother was being reconnected to her child. The child enjoying every moment of breast feeding that she had been denied from the moment she fell on the hands of a stranger. I was happy.