More Transport Tales from Kampala

The bodaholics and taxi lovers that I connect with on social networks sent me such a nice collection of stories that I had enough material for a second Stiletto Point article. Big thanks to everybody who contributed. First of all, y’all saved me from having to write that Sunday. Secondly, thank you for helping me paint a picture (wordpicture?) of what it is like to use public transport in this our chaotic and often funny city.

Kampala, home of organized chaos  From Kabiza.com

Kampala, home of organized chaos
From Kabiza.com

Akech: I once boarded a taxi from Gayaza to town. When one lady got off off at Kubiri , the conductor started to call for people to come in. Unfortunately, that woman had thrown up all over the back seat. Passengers of course refused to sit there. The conductor then said, “Whoever accepts to sit there will pay half price.” In unison, the whole taxi shouted, “yiiiyyiii?!’

Laura: A taxi I was once in stopped to wait for customers in a sunny spot. When a lady sitting next to a window complained that she was getting sunburnt, the conductor said, “Woviira mu waliwo umbrella?” – meaning “Is there an umbrella at your stop?”

Notice that there is a guy behind the boda guy? Where is he resting his feet?

Notice that there is a guy behind the boda guy? Where is he resting his feet?

Kyakyo: One time, I flagged down a boda along Acacia Avenue. He was wearing a helmet.  It was around 9pm. I didn’t bother negotiating and  just said “stage” and he grunted. I hoped on. As we approached the now Mish Mash area, he reached back and touched my thigh! Indignantly, I shouted, “excuse me!” but he insisted on touching me. When I told him to stop the bike, he took off his helmet and that is when I noticed that he was Indian. I just told him to scoot on.

Kumbuka: In my O’Level at Mwiri college, I was once sent home for school fees. Fare from the Jinja park to home had always been 2500/=. All through the journey, I sat confident that I had enough money, not knowing that fare had been increased to 3000/= . When I paid, the conductor asked for the 500/=. I didn’t have it.  I explained that I was just from school and didn’t know about this increment and even started faking tears but the man wasn’t having any of it. He said,”Mwe kusomelo temusoma mawulile?” Meanwhile, he was taking my shoe!

kla247

Achetun: Yesterday evening, I boarded a taxi near Mulago hospital. As soon as we joined the main road, a Police bike followed us. Two officers ordered our driver and conductor to get out and sign in their book. They then issued a fine demand note. When they asked see the driver’s permit, he claimed to have left it in town. It was when the police unleashed another ticket that the conductor started to complain bitterly, saying they had received three other tickets that day. Altogether they had been charged over 800K in one morning. We were chased out of the taxi and it drove off via Yusuf Lule road.

Ntezi:  I always have conversations with my boda men, especially when we’re travelling long distances. Also in the unusual or ungodly hours I find myself sharing real life experiences with them. This is my way of ensuring I am humanized in their minds, so that they abandon any evil plans they might have. Hasn’t failed me yet.

Osweri: I’d always wondered about people in taxis who make a spectacle of themselves over 500/- until I boarded some taxi to Ntinda (1500). I told the tout I was disembarking in Nakawa. Translation: I’m paying 1000, right? Long story short, my beautiful leather handbag is sans a shoulder strap now. I’m mad and mournful, but without an ounce of embarrassment. I need to stop talking and just buy that scooter already!

Bodaholics

Bodaholics of Kampala

I’m with Marvis. I spend so much time and money on boda bodas that it would be a super smart move if I bought a scooter. Perhaps I would even hire a rider.

Do leave a story of your own in the comment section.

See you next Monday.

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Boda men have the best stories

 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 den dis and den dat

 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.