‘Omwana wa Bazungu’

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So yesterday, at the end of a long workday (Monday, no less), I walked to the ka-corner of a certain road in Nsambya from where I usually board a taxi to the park. I was standing there when I got a phonecall. I’d been talking (and waiting for a taxi to show up) for ages when one finally did.

The conductor, as they do, beckoned me over. I peeked inside; no room for me to sit. So I waved them away – I could only wave, as I was still talking on the phone. The taxi didnt move. He insisted on taking me. I made a vague hand-motion to mean, “Where in the world do you expect me to sit?”. He must have understood me, because he then asked the passengers in the second row to sikamu awo (loosely translated as: I know it’s a three-seater and you’re already 4 people plus 2 babies, but you just move up anyway so I can get an extra shs.500 out of your discomfort.)

I wasnt about to inconvenience anyone, and honestly didnt mind waiting for another taxi, so once again I shooed. Then. The gentleman at the front (next to the taxi driver) opened the door, got out, moved to said second row and asked me to come sit where he’d been. I marveled for a moment at this chivalry. Almost declined, and then thought, ah what the heck. he’s offered. So I clambered in.

Then.  The entire taxi burst into laughter. Mocking laughter. Derisive guffaws. Complete with Aahaa, hmm, kyokka ban’abaana ba bazungu! (hmm, these children of white people!). I ensconced my ass even further into the taxi seat, turned back and gave a smug smile.

It is just amusing to me how people could make fun of me for wanting to be comfortable.  I am parting with money. Shs500 only, but money no less. Do I not deserve to ride in (relative) comfort? It’s bad enough I dont have a car of my own or a chauffeur at my disposal – I will not enter a rotten, broken down taxi and allow to be treated like a sardine.

Kampalans need to learn to demand good service if they are paying for it. It’s not wrong to want good things for yourself, people.

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3 responses »

  1. Thats the problem I have with Kenyans. Accepting crappy services when you are paying for them. No one is doing you a favor…

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