(UGBlogWeek) The Commute Series: Familiar Faces

When you stay in an area long enough, you begin to notice patterns. The condition of the taxis that are on your commute, the people at the stage, the drivers of said taxis, the conductors and the people at the stage. You know, the ones the conductors snob after their taxis are filled with commuters. The people who cling the taxi door until the conductor tips them and normally, it is not a respectful exchange, more of dropping a coin onto the road and him shouting out to the guy through the window saying, “Tuja komawo”. In the rearview, you see the disappointed look on the tout’s face.

The year is 2015, and I have recently notice two of these said touts rise up in through the ranks – so to speak.

One elevated to conductor status – but him, I have only seen drive by.

The second now appears to be head of other touts and can often be seen wearing one of those hazard jackets, and his own version of Ray-Ban. Why did I notice him you ask? Well, I will tell you.

There was a tussle in the park – one driver was vehemently stating how unfair it have been for another taxi to be filled before his. The person in charge of allocating the order in which the taxis were to be filled was not having any of it – in fact, it would be safe to say that they guy was rudely ignoring him. This obviously served to further infuriate the driver. At this point other drivers were now adding their version of salt to the injury – none of which was helping anything.

In saunters our Ray-Ban, speaking calmly and trying to defuse the situation. The angry driver now deferred to him, in a manner almost as if seeking him to be on his side.

“Well, this is definitely a turn in events… How did this happen” I wondered silently to myself.

And within minutes, calm had ensued and Ray-Ban is looking over the books and inspecting them.

***    ***   ***

One random thing, I do not know the politics behind the different governing transport bodies, but I do respect the fact that these guys are trying to organise themselves.

** Image from Kirabo Byabashaija #KoiKoiUG

The Morning Commute Series: Episode One

So  a couple of really cool Ugandans started a fun campaign to tell the world about the real UG… a story about Uganda by Ugandans… Check out the KoiKoiUG hashtag on both Twitter and Instagram.

It is because of this campaign that I have started becoming a little more aware of my surroundings… Today, was one of those days, simply hilarious I had to write it down.

For some reason, all the taxis were overly greedy this morning, I mean literally – charging 1500 to places that ordinarily cost 500. Meh! After several failed attempts to get into a taxi, I am obviously standing at the stage for a long time, so I get to notice who passes by or who drives by (More on this in another post).

So down walks this girl, earphones plugged in… smiled at a boda guy and made her way to the stage. So she hopes onto a taxi headed to the turnaround spot, so I cross to do as she did – and yes, the guy said “Lukumi bitano wojikoyera”. Frustrated, I exclaim and walk away.

After trying to unsuccessfully procure a boda guy at the stage… No he wasn’t being greedy, he had to wait for school children (this also needs another post). So the same taxi passes by, and their attitude has now changed and they accept my fare. It was at this point that the girl (Lets name her – Lucy)… So it was at this point that Lucy turns and smiles at me…

So off we go… headed towards the big city, then the driver does what ALL other drivers have been in the habit of doing. He takes the longer way around instead of use the tarmac road with slow rolling bumper to bumper traffic. No. You see to them, taking 15 minutes to navigate a bumpy marrum road and ending up in a hell-of-a-longer jam is much better than sticking those same 15 minutes out on a shorter route.

I am thinking all of this in my head… quietly. That is when, Lucy, seated at the front belts out loudly, “Kale singa twandiyise wali”… No. she was LOUD and I doubt she noticed it… LOL!! Then the driver does what any self respecting taxi driver does, he decided to create a second lane…

Lucy: “Banange, eki lorry kija”

Lucy: “Banange, okilaba??”

Yes, she was still belting it out. Lol, what ever she was listening to, it must have been loud. True, there was a lorry coming towards us, and yes, the Lorry driver only stopped right at our front guard.

Lucy belts out again: “Kale singa twandiyise wali”

She turns to look at the driver to see if he is paying attention to her, “Kubanga wali eslopinga”

At this point, I just DIED!! All this time, the conductor was silently getting riled up. The Lucy sneezes, and I think she was eating gnuts, so what does Lucy do… Out the window with her snot.

The conductor could not contain it at this point, under his breath he asked,

“gwe nnyabo, ebinyira byo……….” something something… I couldnt hear the rest of the sentence, but the beginning made the driver grin back at him. The sad thing, is that Lucy didnt hear a thing he said… Remember, she has her earphone plugged in.

So now we get the the bridge.

Lucy belts out: “Banange, leero jam eyitiridde”

Then she looks out her window.

Lucy: “Laba emotoka yabazungu – Banange balabe, boona bamilu ddirisa. Oba ba laga wa?


But by this point, I had hit my destination… So I hopped out still grinning about Lucy and her random belting.