THE REAL HUSTLERS
By: Lubnah Abdulhalim
A fresh morning, a beautiful morning, a wonderful morning, it doesn’t really matter to the citizens coming from Mtwapa and beyond. The moment that you arrive at the busy and crowded road on a Monday morning, your mood already turns off and Monday blues just begin. From the first stage to the last point where your eyes can reach, are people of all kinds. Then, you know, it’s time to hustle.
You can walk from the first stage then to the next and the next and you still don’t get a Matatu to get you to school or work. Apart from the dusty and muddy pathways especially during rainy days, sometimes I must say, the walk can be interesting. You meet old friends, teachers, classmates and relatives on such occasions. Each one of them is waiting for the same thing as you are; matatus.
The wait could take as long as quarter to half an hour and if on a very bad day, an hour. The irony of it all is that, you who comes from home as early as 6.30 a.m could eventually meet your friend at the stage coming from home at 7.00 a.m, meaning, for us, no early bird really catches the worm. With each Matatu that stands in front of you, before you even think to blink, the entire crowd is scrambling into it. For others, without hesitating, prefer to imitate our long cousins the monkeys and climb into the Matatu through the windows. At this point, you remember Darwin’s theory of survival for the fittest and just sigh in confusion. If you pretend to be an honourable one who can’t take the effort of participating in the scrambling, then you could stand to 7.30 a.m or even longer. Without mentioning the fare prices which could go as high as double price especially during rush hours like on Mondays. While on a Saturday, you may get to the stage and find a whole stream of Matatus like on display. The conductors come from all corners and rush to you. The irony now is that they are the ones who are scrambling for you today. They all beg at the same time, each persuading you to get into their Matatu. And even if you insist on getting a certain specific seat they may go to the extent of requesting to the other person seated there before you to exchange it to you for another seat. It is at this moment that you willingly enter any Matatu you want and just at fifty shillings only to get you to town.
During that waiting, for a moment, you actually wish that you could just turn back, go home and continue with a good sleep and taking an off from school or job, but you still have to go. But yet still, before you finally reach your destination, there is that annoying traffic jam that never ends. It really makes one restless and wishing to fly over to the destination. It’s all sweaty and the heat adds more irritation to oneself. And with the endless reconstruction of the Bamburi road, the jam has become more intensified, so instead of the normal half an hour wasted in the traffic jam, it’s now more than an hour.
When you finally arrive at school, you see the teacher on duty glaring at you, not ready for any explanation. Then you know it’s time for punishment. As for those rushing to job, well, the boss is always ready with an entire questionnaire on how and why you got late for work.
With all that struggling, Mtwapa remains to be a harmonious place, a place you could call home…it seems like a small world of its own where everyone knows the other as family.
Without concentrating on the bad picture that people have about Mtwapa, maybe this is why they have had good personalities and achievers from the area. Well, they learn it the hard way. It’s not a matter of pride or loyalty but a matter of plain truth. Ask for yourself and see.
TO ALL THE MTWAPIANS,
I SALUTE YOU ALL!