I’ve had many experiences with boda boda men, the good far surpassing the bad in number. There’s the psychopath who tries to impress himself by flying over humps and the one who seems almost embarrassed to take money. There’s the big, dark one whom I used to be afraid of, who’s now my favorite because his fee is a constant 1500 from the stage to my house.
And then there’s Davis of Ntinda. I met Davis at 10pm just as I was about to board a Kyanja taxi. In the usual boda man fashion, he rode menacingly in my direction, swerved away at the last minute and then patted the seat behind him. “Silinji bitaano ku kisaasi” he said.
Now if you live in Kyanja, you know that entering one of those taxis after 9 means sitting for at least an hour until it fills. I whipped out my negotiation skills and we agreed he’d drop me off near my home.
When we started moving, he turned and said, “You mean you’re not a Muganda?”
Oh boy. I was not in the mood for this kind of talk. I knew what was coming, but because it was late and he didn’t seem threatening, I didn’t make him stop.
“No.” I said
“Mbadde manyi when I saw you that you were a Muganda kubanga you are very beautiful.
The rolling of my eyes was audible.
“What are you? A mucholi?”
“Yes. I’m an Acholi.”
After a short pause, he said, “Sorry”.
Sorry? Did this man just sympathize with my not being a Muganda? Just as I was about to cuff the back of his head, he continued. “You know, Acholis are very tough. Me I fear those people.”
“You do? Well, I’m an Acholi from Kitgum. Kitgum Matidi. So ride faster.”
And then he launched into one of the funniest stories I’ve ever heard. It wasn’t so much the content as the delivery that had me falling off the boda with mirth. Davis is a very funny man. He said,
“One time, I was driving to Dubai, you know, the Sudanese-Ugandan border. And when I reached Gulu, it was very late. 3 am in the night. I went to a restaurant and asked a woman for food. Haa. You Acholis you’re very tough.
When I asked what food she had, she said fish. But when she was serving, I saw also beans. When I asked her why she hadn’t told me about the beans, she shouted: YOU ASKED FISH. I BROUGHT FISH! The woman even wanted to fight me!”
Here the motorcycle wobbled a bit, so I told him to either ride well or shut up. He continued
“I just ate, but I was annoyed. How can a woman want to fight with you? I decided to go to a bar. When I reached there, I saw four women dancing very much. I didn’t know if they were drunkards or what. After some time, they came near me so also me I danced ka little little. When things became hot, I decided to go away. Naye when I reached the car, they all ran out and started abusing me. Awuruwuruwuru! Then they entered my car by force. Hmm. People of that place are tough.”
By this time, I was in stitches and we were at my stop. I paid him, asked his name and said goodbye. Boda men have the best stories.