To read part 1, click the following link: https://lubnah.me.ke/31-hours-part-1/
Our view is still the same restaurant we had been at from the previous night 3 a.m.
It is now past 3 p.m. and you could vividly see all our energy had been sucked out of us.
“You know, at some point, during this journey, I thought of Nabii Yunus and the boat he was on,” I say loudly.
“Why,” my sister asks.
“Perhaps there is someone weighing us down and jinxing this entire trip. Who should we be kicking out of the car?”
They all burst out laughing.
“Saeed, I didn’t see you at the masjid for I’sha. Did you really pray?” Farouq jokes.
“I was late for masjid but I actually did pray.”
“Ehh, maanake this is not normal,” I say.
“So we write down our names in small pieces of paper too and choose randomly who is to be kicked out,” someone says. And we laugh again.
Asr prayer soon arrives. We went for prayers then went to eat at another restaurant across the road. Chips soaked in oil nonetheless. We eat reluctantly as we entertain ourselves with nothing and everything. We then see a matatu drive into the previous restaurant we were at. Our help had finally arrived. Finally, we thought.
My brother in law Ali had come with two other men, a driver and a conductor for extra help. We take the car to the mechanic and fix a towing bar ( a metal bar on the back of a vehicle that is used for towing a vehicle) between the two cars and off we set.
My sister and I sat comfortably at the car seat, set our chairs back and closed our eyes. We were barely three minutes away from the mechanic, the towing bar falls off from our car and screeches loudly. We both open our eyes,
“Oh what now?” I say with a sigh.
The mechanic rushes to us and checks our car.
“Reverse the car. We have to fix this again,” he says.
So we reverse back and it takes another moment to fix the towing bar. We set off again and as we cross the road towards Mombasa, guess what? It falls off again. All the men come out of the car and somehow fix it. We set off AGAIN. At this point I am so convinced that this entire trip is jinxed.
For a while we drive at a good speed with no complications. In fact, at some point, Farouq who was now the one driving the matatu, was over taking other cars.
“We are now over-confident huh?” I said to my brother who was in the car with us.
He laughs while I went back to sleep.
Close to dusk, I woke up and started taking videos of the forest and images of the sunset. I even got to see a deer and a giraffe huh! Silver lining 😀 At this point, we believe that we are fine and we will totally make it home with no further complications.
In between my short naps and taking videos, another loud screech woke us up. All men hopped out of the two vehicles, fixed it again and embarked on our journey. It was already dark now and just a few vehicles on the road with us.
As if testing our patience, the towing bar now kept falling off almost after every 10-20 minutes. Whenever this would happen,I would imagine the car losing entire control and perhaps roll off to our devastating end. Despite this happening too many times already, I would still wake up with a hand on my chest, screaming ‘bismillah’ like this might just be it. The last trip of our lives. Mind you, this trip happened just a few days before eidul adh-ha. I never thought we would live to see it.
Past midnight, we stopped at a petrol station with a cool, posh, cute restaurant beside it.
“Is she asleep?” my brother asks about our sister.
“Yeah,” I say as I gaze at her. She’s been asleep for a while now. And I kept wondering how she wasn’t hearing all that commotion in the dead night with no one but us on the road.
I wake her up to ask whether she needed to use the washroom.
“You’ve slept quite a while. Weren’t you hearing the constant commotions?” I ask her.
“I took my pills remember? They make me drowsy and sleepy.”
We walk to the restaurant. The setting was beautiful and the toilets were CLEAN and neat. Do you know how important that is when you have a break down in the wilderness?!!!
“I wish our car had broken down here,” my sister says. Yeah, same sis. Same. We laugh.
We come back from the washroom and find all the men standing between the two vehicles. Two of them were hitting the bumper of our car with a huge rock.
“What’s happening?” we ask as we wear our jackets. It is pretty cold now.
“The bumper is becoming loose. It can no longer handle the pull of the towing bar. We have to remove it entirely and connect the towing bar directly to the metals of the car below the bonnet,” my brother explains.
“Do you know how suspicious we look right now?” I say. Five men and two women, in the middle of the night, damaging what seems like a perfect car. The sound of the rock echoes in the very silent petrol station. No one from there asks anything though. The bumper is finally removed and kept inside the matatu. They attach a rope and the metal bar between the matatu and our bumper-less car and each one of us takes our places in the respective vehicles. We take off.
“We are lucky we took this trip at night you know. If it were during the day it would be way more difficult with other cars on the road and traffic police,” my brother says. Lucky indeed 😀
You’d expect with the bumper being out our trip wouldn’t have any other issue right? You couldn’t be more wrong. The car still kept on freeing itself. And as fast and efficient as possible, the guys would hop out, fix it and we’d move on. They were becoming too good at the job, with no complaints even 😀
At this point it was like we were at a state of delirium. Whenever we’d close our eyes and open them again, we’d see someone else driving our car. The guys were taking turns in driving the two vehicles. My brother Saeed and brother in law Ali are now at the car with us.
“I am sleepy,” Ali says as he drives.
To make our trip more interesting, Saeed starts telling us of another road trip with a friend who left him driving the entire night while he slept.
“The silence just makes it worse. I was literally fighting with the sleep. I couldn’t keep my eyes fully open,” he says as we listen.
At this time, almost all our phones were off. Had we died, it would have taken a while for our families to be contacted. Okay, not the time for bad thoughts.
Saeed starts eating the mabuyu that we had at the beginning our trip. My sister is back to sleep.
“Are these mabuyu nice ama ni njaa niko nayo?” (or am I just hungry)
“You are hungry,” Ali and I laugh.
I close my eyes again for another moment before we had the loudest screech yet. Both my sister and I woke at the sight of our car moving to the extreme left down a slope, the matatu moved towards the right while the towing bar screeched loudly. I screamed something, my sister’s eyes were popping. We all held our breath, our mouths agape, horror written all over our faces as the car moved fast towards the edge of the road. We could now see the ocean below us; imagining us plummeting and dropping like feathers to the ocean below. The car then came to a slow stop. We were at ‘Dongokundu highway’. The streets totally empty and the ocean almost daring us. There was a moment of deep silence as the men alighted once again. If there was any moment we felt terror to the extent of finding it tangible, this was it. Imagine waking up to find yourself almost falling off a highway into the ocean? I don’t think words can ever precisely describe the horror we experienced at this point. Maybe we should turn this into a movie so you can vividly experience the terror alongside the characters. From this point, no one dared to go back to sleep. Even my sister with her sleep-inducing pills. We had lost all the appetite for it.
‘What if our car fell off into the deadly waters?!’ I kept thinking to myself.
We were right at the road when a trailer drove past us at a super high speed, startling the guys away to the side. It was a close brush!
“Why do you keep being scared whenever the bar falls off?” my brother asks me after they were back in the car.
“I keep imagining the car losing control and driving us to our demise.”
“That can’t happen. Despite the engine being dead, we are still controlling the car…unless God wills of course.”
“Oh…” I say with relief. How comforting to know 😀
We finally drive past Changamwe into Mombasa. Wow, that came with an excitement of its own, ‘we are close enough to home!! Alhamdulilah’ Only that home is in Mtwapa and we’d need another hour or so to get there with this constantly falling metal bar.
As we drive past Bamburi cement, we stop again. The men hop out as usual. But this time, we have an audience. The bodaboda guys start speculating us closely. One of them is seemingly drunk and starts threatening the men to report them.
I’m at the back of the car and I don’t get it.’Report us for what?’
The bodaboda guy then signals to his fellow to note down our plate numbers and I think to call the police or something like that.
He is shouting loudly at the guys, throwing insults at a time.
“What is wrong with this guy urgh!’ I say.
“And why are you agitated?” my sister asks.
“Because these guys have been driving the entire night, and he is pushing their buttons. People are exhausted! We don’t need any more problems bana!”
As I had guessed, Ali and Farouq starts answering him back. Not on full blown angry mode but you can see they are REALLY trying to ignore him.
Suddenly we see a police car drive by. We all freeze for a second. But the police just slow down a bit to peep what we were and they went on with their way.
The guys come back to the car. Farouq comes back and joins us as Ali takes up driving the matatu.
“What was the bodaboda guy threatening about?” I ask.
“He was assuming we had caused an accident thus the missing bumper,” Farouq replies.
Saeed drives the car past Borabora and we are thrilled.
“Getting home soon in shaa Allah,” Saeed says.
“Hehe not yet. We are yet to be stopped by the police,” Farouq laughs.
“Don’t jinx it,” we urge him.
We drop the matatu driver and conductor at some point around Shanzu.
We get to Mtwapa bridge and just as we cross, guess what? The police stop us.
Ali explains it to them that before coming with the Matatu to pick us from Mtito, he had talked to their head about it and had approved.
The police became agitated.
“Are you teaching us our job?” They were around four or five of them.
“No but why do you want to hold us back while we got the approval from your boss,” Ali is officially pissed.
“Kuna leo na kesho,”one of the policeman says.
And we all know what that means in Kenya. You could find yourself in a very muddy situation you were never really in.
Saeed and Farouq take Ali aside then talked to the policemen, trying to calm them down. They apologize on his behalf. They say it has been a long journey and bargain with them. They fold a note into one of the hands and finally let us go.
Broken system. How sad.
“That was close,” one of us says.
“Si mimi nlisema,” Farouq laughs. (Didn’t I say we’d be stopped by the police?)
“You’re the one who’s been jinxing us Farouq,” we all say as we laugh at him.
“I am not going to be excited anymore till we are finally INSIDE our home,” I say as we get closer and closer.
“You’ve had a lifetime adventure you will never forget,” Farouq says, “Mwanzo, have you guys ever been on such an adventure?”
“Of course not 😀 We can rejoice about the adventure AFTER it is over,” I say.
We can now see our home at the vicinity and I still say, “I am NOT going to be happy till I am inside. No less. No more.” This is the kind of trip you think, ‘Oh I am finally home. Nothing bad can happen now. I am safe.’ Only for robbers to appear in front of you with pangas. Okay maybe that is too movie-ish but can you blame me at this point for thinking of the worst?
I see my dad waiting for us at the door. I quickly alight and head towards the door. Guess what happened?!
Nothing. Relax. 😀 I just hugged him. Never felt happier to be home. Alhamdulilah.
I rush into my room and my younger sister is startled from her sleep.
“Oh you’re back?!”
“I am baaackkk!! Alhamdulilah!! You won’t believe what happened oh my God. Very long story. Will tell you tomorrow in shaa Allah.”
It is past 3 a.m., closer to 4 a.m. I rush to the washroom, clean up and repay my missed prayers. I am thrilled to be home. So excited. All the while during that terrible journey yet thrilling adventure, I couldn’t stop thinking, ‘Wait till this over! I can’t wait to write about it!’ To date, I believe I was meant to experience that adventure because I love adventures despite them wrecking my nervous system 😀 At least I can boast that I survived the thrill without having a mental breakdown 😀
Next morning everyone at home is asking for details of the trip. What exactly happened.
“Just wait till I write about it!!”
They’ve been waiting for too long! 😀
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