Last December, I enjoyed the opportunity to travel back from Kenya to Uganda using the night bus from 6:00 pm – 6:00. I was dreading the trip back given how tiring I knew it would make me, but all I could do was walk up the stairs to get into the bus’ VIP section.
As I did, I was greeted by a light skinned mature aged lady munching away at a chicken wing of her take out. I was puzzled because I was sure she was in my seat so I turned around and asked the person I was travelling with for confirmation.
Me: ‘Hey, which seats are we in?’ I asked as I turned around to face him.
Travel Companion: ‘The 2 front seats on the left hand side of the VIP section.’
Me: ‘Okay, well we have company.’
Travel Companion: ‘What do you mean?’ he said in response as he peered over my shoulder as the conductor nudged us forward so we could depart.
Mature aged Lady: ‘Eh negomba ekyenyanja,’ she shouted across the aisle oblivious to our presence. She was shouting to a younger gentleman we later found out was her travelling companion.
Conductor: ‘Eh bwana twendekazi, we have to go Kampala,’ he said in a bid to hasten our footsteps so we could get seated and leave Nairobi.
Travel Companion: ‘Nyabo you are in our seat, look at our tickets. Can you please move to your seat?’
She ignored us for the most part and the conductor got tired of waiting for us to get seated so he closed the door and signaled to the driver to hit the road.
Travel Companion: ‘Madam, we really need to take our seats we paid for VIP for a reason.’
Mature aged Lady: ‘Mubere wali ne mulinda male enkoko yange,’ she said in response with not so much as a look in our direction.
In that instance as she said those words I smiled and thought, even when you are miles away from home a Ugandan will always be and act like a Ugandan. Even though they may not necessarily look like Ugandans and you least expect to run into them.
Now at this point we had been standing in the aisle for about 3 minutes, looking like fools as we waited for her to get up and move into her seat. At this very instance, the bus flew out of the parking area and we nearly toppled over so I asked my travel companion to take her official seat across the aisle as I sat next to her and waited for this to get sorted out. It took the lady about 20 minutes to finish her meal as my travel companion could be heard grumbling audibly in the distance.
Travel Companion: ‘I do not understand why we get seat numbers if they cannot be enforced by the bus company.’
Me: ‘Calm down.’
Travel Companion: ‘Conductor, why do I pay for a VIP seat if I am not going to enjoy it?’
He looked in my travel companion’s direction for a moment but then turned away and headed to the back to begin to serve the snacks to the rest of the passengers.
Travel Companion: ‘I am not using Simba coach again.’
Me: ‘Let it go.’
The ladies travel companion (the younger male) seated across the aisle next to my travel companion responded ‘Let her finish her food and then she will move, she told you she will move.’ This was said in a luganda accent.
Travel Companion: ‘Yes but this discomfort could have been avoided.’
Mature aged Lady: ‘Eh nkuse!” she said as she jumped out of the seat next to me and I excused her as she exchanged seats with my travel companion about 30 minutes after we hit the road.
I was glad that my pal could now take his seat next to me, we could chat and watch a movie, but one thing the old lady did not tell me when she moved was that she had left me the fried carcass of her chicken at my feet. I was annoyed but decided that I should be thankful enough that she had finally moved to her seat and I was now able to charge my phone using the socket just below my widow.
It is safe to say the rest of my journey back home was smooth sailing.