Matata Matatuni

“Ah! Bwana we! Unataka nikae vipi?” Nilimuuliza utingo aliyekuwa anajaribu kuweka mzigo fulani chini ya miguu yangu.

“Inua miguu, jamani,” alijibu huku akiishiwa na subira.

“Siinui ng’o!” Nilijibu kwa fadhaa.

“Aaah! Inua miguu bwana! Kwani unadhani wewe ndiye nani?”

“Sitainua. Utaninyima raha hadi lini wewe? Kwani sijalipia nafasi yangu kwenye matatu hii? Umenifinya vya kutosha kwa kujaza matatu kupindukia, na sasa unataka niinue miguu pia? Haiwezekani!”

“Acha ukorifi, jamaa. Hii ni matatu sio gari binafsi. Kama unataka starehe jinunulie gari. Ala!”

“Ni haki yangu kustarehe kwenye matatu nikichagua kusafiri kwa matatu. Kwani umenibeba bila malipo? Si nimelipia nafasi hii? Kama nimeilipia, nina haki ya kustarehe.”

“Eih! Inua miguu wewe! Kwani tutaishi hapa?” Abiria mmoja alibisha. Wengine pia walikuwa wameanza kunung’unika.

“Siwezi!” Nilijibu kwa ugombezi. “Watu kama nyinyi ndio mnasababisha tunakanyagwa kiasi hiki. Sasa ona tulivyofinyana. Matatu inafaa kubeba watu kumi na wanne lakini humu ndani tuko zaidi ya ishirini. Na nauli tumelipa, tena kiwango cha juu sana eti kwa sababu ni usiku. Salaala! Mnakubalije kutendewa hivi?”

Kutokana na reliefweb

Abiria walinyamaza ji kama maji mtungini. Utingo alinikazia macho. Nami nilikaza yangu.

Ingawa nilijifanya jasiri, uoga ulinijaa ghafla rohoni. Niliondoa macho yangu usoni mwake na kutazama hewani bila mpango. Mawazo mchafukoge yalifurika akilini mwangu. Je, akiamua kunivamia kwa silaha nitafanya nini? Hata abiria wenzangu hawakutaka kunitetea. Upweke wa kustaajabisha ulinibana koo. Nilikumbuka habari kuhusu watu waliopoteza maisha yao kupitia mikono ya utingo huku waking’ng’ania shilingi kumi tu! Kwenye fikira zangu nilimwona utingo akipenyeza upanga chini na kuikata miguu yangu.

Pah! Pah! Pah! Gari lilitwangwa. Mgongo ulinishtua nikaruka bila hiari yangu. Kimo changu kilinisaliti – Paa la matatu lilinigonga kichwani na kunirudisha kitini kikatili. Ah! Kwani hata mazingira yananigeuka? Nilitafakari na kujihurumia. Kwa bahati, hakuna aliyeonekana kugundua mshtuko wangu.

“Twende dereva,” ilikuwa sauti ya utingo. “Watu wengine ni wachoyo sana! Hawawezi kuwasaidia wenzao,” alisema huku akinirushia jicho la lawama.

Niligundua kuwa alikuwa ameshakata tamaa. Rohoni nilihisi kwamba hakuwa mtu hatari. Uoga wangu uliota mbawa na kutoweka kama umande jua lichomozapo. Hasira isiyomithilika ilichukua mahali pake.

“Uchoyo ni kujua haki zangu?” Niliuliza kwa sauti kubwa iliyojaa hamaki.

“Haki gani?” Alibeza utingo. “Hata soni huna! Kwanza itakuwa bora nikushushe njiani wewe!” Alitishia.

“Nishushe!” Nilidakia. “Nishushe basi! Rudisha hela zangu zote kisha unishushe. Sijalishwi na hilo mimi!” Nilisema huku nikipigapiga kifua changu. “Bora urudishe fedha zangu zote kwa sababu hutakuwa umenifikisha. Nilikulipa nauli ya kutosha kunipeleka niendako. Ikiwa hutanifikisha, itabidi urudishe yote. Huwezi kunipa huduma inayokiuka maagano kisha utarajie kulipwa.”

Kutoka Pinterest (Art on Wheels)

Tulijibizana kwa muda mrefu na kwa sauti za juu. Hakuna aliyekubali kushindwa. Baadaye, ubishi wetu ulififia na kila mmoja akazama kwenye fikira zake.

Bila sauti zetu, nilisikia muziki mwororo uliokuwa ukicheza kwenye redio. Mgurumo wa matatu iliyokuwa inajipenyeza taratibu kwenye giza totoro la usiku huo wa shaka ulituliza na kuiyeyusha hasira yangu. Iliposimama kituoni saa moja baadaye, nilishuka polepole na kujitoma gizani. Nilitumai na kuomba kwamba matatizo yanayowakumba abiria na wafanyakazi wa matatu yangetoweka kama nilivyotokomea kwenye giza hilo, yasiwahi kutuathiri tena. Hata hivyo, nilijua langu lilikuwa dua la kuku lisilompata mwewe.

16 Comments Add yours

  1. Juma says:

    Beautiful piece! I think you should try writing a Swahili novel. I really enjoyed reading this. You are truly talented!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you for your kind words, Juma. I will give your challenge some thought.

      Like

  2. Katie says:

    Hahaha! Nimecheka sana. Andika zaidi, bwana.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Asante Katie. Watu hucheka nikiongea kuhusu kisa hiki, lakini hakukuwa na ucheshi wowote kilipotokea, walahi!

      Like

  3. Jose says:

    This is lit!

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Joy Martins says:

    So artfully written. I like how easy it is to read this. Great sense of humour while addressing such weighty matters. Kudos!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I am flattered! Thanks for reading, Joy.

      Like

  5. Jan Maina says:

    I can totally relate! Plus it’s so interesting. I couldn’t stop until I was done reading.

    Like

    1. I guess it is the story of every matatu user. I am happy it kept you engaged regardless.

      Like

  6. Ken Timmerman says:

    This represents our dilemma so artfully! You want peace, you want value for your money, but you also don’t want to get into life-threatening trouble. How do we deal with it!?

    Like

    1. That’s the million dollar question, Ken. Perhaps talking about it is a good place to start.

      Like

  7. Josephat says:

    It’s interesting that you expected comfort in a Matatu, my man. Matatu’s are PSVs. You should be ready to give up comfort and be willing to give up space for fellow passengers and their belongings! Acha hizo salaale zako, bwana!

    Like

  8. Adams Riungu says:

    Huu ndo mtindo Afrika nzima, nadhani. Nilipitia matukio sawa na haya huko Benin!

    Like

  9. roserositta@gmail.com says:

    “Usiku wa Shaka,” I think, is the perfect description of this night. The fight between fear and anger that you portray here is quite attention-grabbing and really relatable.

    Like

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