A man walks to the stage to find a bus and a matatu (14 seater van). Conda 1 catches onto his indecision in his face and approaches him.
There are two main things that a typical Kenyan will look at before boarding onto public transport: Money and Time! Everybody wants to save that 10, 30 shillings through bargaining. Being african timers, they are always late going somewhere they should have been one hour ago. So no one wants an empty bus convincing people to board. Most of the empty bus is cheaper.
Conda 1 “Nairobi?”
Finally you talk, “Ni ngapi?”
You look at the bus to weigh your options
A stage Conda sees the scene and sees and opportunity. Runs to get a chance
Conda 2 “Kuja, Ntakupeleka na 40. “
You are interested with the lower price but this guy has no uniform so he ain’t leaving that stage. So you want to know if they will change the price once you are in and argue that he wasn’t the one who accepted that price.
The other guy feels cheated and isn’t to let someone to win. Now they are touching him and one gently but roughly directs his body to his matatu. The other is holding his hand. Your body feels like its been teared up! You pull back. They tell each other, “Wacha kushika customer”
The game is back to using words to convince. They are talking trash about each other. To ease up the environment you ease up. After a drilling 2 minutes, now people are looking to see the fight, which is just another free skit to watch. Its a norm. You are not any different.
The matatu that is about to be full has a driver who was getting entertained and had a feeling his guy is loosing. His loud ” Bro, Kuja twende, Tunatoka sahi” could not be heard. So he comes our and his conductor leaves it to him to find another luck.
You have now given up thinking about comfort, time or money. You decide to wait for another and make it known to them. After a few words and there, they give up. The bus conda finally passes by to tell you its fine with your 40. When about to move, the now out driver comes to your ‘rescue’. You stop in your tracks and being a smart Kenyan, you go silent. The argue and finally go.
That stage conda comes when no ones watching and literally drugs you to the bus and you enter. The matatu gets someone and leaves. The bus is still there, and you have this thing telling you, If I chose them earlier, I would be in Juja now. You brace yourself.
Now you are in the bus, the conda takes your 100 and returns 50. You are thinking he doesn’t have the ten so you wait. Since you chose his seat, you ask him with your accent, ” Nirudishie change”.
Conda “Kwani ulisema ngapi?”
” Si huyo njamaa arisema ni fotee.”
Dude goes silent
The blogger sitted behind you realises, you are not even a town guy. She finally understands why they harrassed you: You allowed them to!
If you look confused and not sure what you want, they are gonna use it. You don’t need to look tough but have some sense of direction.You finally realise.
The blogger wants to tell you that people carry loose if they need to bargain, but you she is Kenya, so she can’t.
Blogger: She receives a call from one of her classmates wondering how many minutes she needs for them to get started on their revision. She wonders mbona wakona haraka. It am only 30 minutes late.
A scientist who writes about her daily experiences. Most are drafts but some are publicly shared, like this one you just read.
2 Replies to “Kenya’s Condas”
I dont bargain for matatu fare u gonna b frustrated coz thy dont fulfil promises
Very true. Best thing is to keep to using loose and be silent id they raise a concern