Thursday, 5 December 2013

Tales of a Ugandan Taxi Passenger - 1

On one long taxi route when i went to visit a friend, our taxi conductor decided to stop at every stage to solicit for passengers. From 3 people to an entire taxi full but when it got to "excess passengers," one in particular got really riled up. We were at full capacity with the conductors row at 4 passengers and the next at 4 as well - 3 adults and a child; as well as the conductor hovering over the individuals closer to the door because he had nowhere to sit, but the fellow decided to stop again to pick up 2 more people. This was the beginning of all the trouble. 

Conductor: "Ba mama mugenda?" (as the taxi comes to a stop) 

Passenger 1: "Where are they going to sit, sebo also you kozesa amagezi." (The taxi door swings open as the 2 ladies at the side of the road approach only to see there is no space to sit, they decline and step back.)

Conductor: "Jangu mutule!" 

Passenger 1: "Batule wa sebo- nanti kati tutude nga nkoko ku lorry." 

Passenger 2: "Munyonyole - sebo oba ogenda okubasitula." (The entire taxi burst in laughter) 

Apparently the passengers had suggested that the conductor was planning to carry the 2 ladies - oku basititula (forgive my terrible luganda) because they were ladies and these 2 were rather full figured. Now to give you some back ground; the conductor had a habit of stopping at taxi stages and pleading with the female bystanders in particular, to come and board his taxi. (I am not exaggerating this fact.)

In one case, he called for the driver to stop and waited for a lady who was taking her time as she slowly walked on a small path leading to the by pass and then even longer as she lazily stood by the road side trying to cross. We waited for 6 minutes (yes i timed this because i was rather annoyed) as she did not confirm whether she was heading in our direction. Now someone like me who reads body language, could tell that her attention was on keeping the sun from her little baby's head and she did not even acknowledge our presence as the conductor yelled in her direction.

Conductor: Nyabo ogena, mama kanku nyambe osalowe kubo tugende." 

Therefore with this background you can understand why the entire taxi had just had enough. I am glad to confirm that due to the vigilance of the passengers we were not squashed like tomatoes as the 2 ladies did not board the taxi. The driver sped off with the conductor being barraged with comments as he was now the butt of all the jokes. 

Passenger 1: "So conductor - if the people at the side of the road were men would you have stopped?" "Were you going to carry them on your laps as you would have the 2 women." (he said while laughing) 

Passenger 2: "Eh- sebo carrying 2 women on your laps you can get away with but 2 men." 

Taxi passengers: "Ehhhhhhh ate awoooo!!!" (chorused different passengers with interjections of other accompanying remarks)

Passenger 1: "Conductor we will question you very seriously." 

Unfortunately i had to alight from the taxi but it had been a very entertaining ride and i am sure the conductor had learnt his lesson.
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