The “Sina Change” syndrome

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Let me take a deep breathe first before I burst a vein or something crucial…*sigh*
I will have to take you back to exactly what happened this morning to help you understand why am so irked.

Moi university main campus is fortunate to have large tracts of land. Since I know most of you were not brought up on ranches, large tracts may not exactly mean anything to you. This campus sits on an impressive 3000 acres of prime land. Now, most campuses in this country exist in one building, with lots of stairs and maybe an elevator here and there. My campus has many buildings no doubt. Here is the thing, they are far apart from each other. Some hostels are as far as a kilometer from the classes.
I know what you are thinking. A kilometer only? In my defense, and in that of many others in my campus, that is a long distance to walk every morning in a place that is as cold and muddy on a good day. No one  looks forward to morning classes per say. But since we are young and energetic and without responsibilities, parental or otherwise, we go to class. As my mum keeps saying, it’s the only shamba I have to till. Never mind, if you are Kamba, just translate it, it will make more sense.

Anyway, in the spirit of tilling my shamba, I wake up at 6:00 am every morning. As a lady,  I have a couple of things to do before I leave my house, ok, room in the affluent Ngeria hostels. Between heating water, showering, fine, bathing, having breakfast and sometimes doing dishes, I spare around 20 minutes to walk to class just in time. However, most of the time, I am not that lucky and I end up taking a nduthi to class. Oh, sorry I lost you, a nduthi is a motorbike.
Any distance in my campus will cost you a maximum of 30 bob. If you live where I live, it’s highly advisable to have a nduthi guy on speed dial. I have Ben, pretty reliable guy. In the event that your nduthi guy is held up, you take the next available guy on the road.

This is what I do not get, and what I do not get usually pisses me off. These people; nduthi drivers are on the road early in the morning. You would expect that “wamevunja pesa” (have change), since they would need to give change. 30 bob…you follow?

Let me break it down for you, if I was a mtu wa nduthi, at the close of business every day, I would have at least 100 bob in coins in preparation for the next day. In case my first passenger gives me 50 bob, I would have 20 bob to give back as change. *evil laughter*. These nduthi drivers have an uncanny habit of not having change on them, and not just in the morning, even in the afternoon. I can forgive lack of anything on a morning, but after 5, 6 hours of daylight!!! That turns from trying my patience to deliberately provoking me!!

I digress, so you will catch a nduthi, of course in a hurry. (It takes a great deal of “urgency” for a comrade to part with 30 bob, especially now that helb is not yet here and your parents think you are lying to hustle them. ) On alighting, in a hurry, of course, you give the nduthi guy say 50 bob. After a moment of shuffling in their numerous pockets, with a tragic expression, (is there something like a tragic expression?), they say “ayayayayaya, matam sina jenj (change)”. I love the kalenjin accent but not on these days.

Being the logical person that I am, I ask, “na sasa unataka tufanye?” At this point, I am no longer in a hurry. I must have my twenty bob. This is where it gets ridiculous. With a sigh, he says “aki matam sijui”. You don’t know? How is it that you don’t know? I am always struck by people in business who never know what do. By struck, I don’t mean amused. They make me angry. You are a business person, give me a solution damn it!

This is what I always expect to hear, “acha nikimbie hapa studie nitafute change”. (Let me run to the student centre and look for change). There are shops at Student Centre. I never get to hear it. I always end up “suggesting” it. And since they are not my trusted Ben, there is no way in freezing Kesses I would leave my 20 bob or whatever. That class can always wait.

Well, as you have already figured out, since it’s taken me these many words to just say how angry I am, you also know that I never “suggest” to be given a solution. I usually give the nduthi guy a piece of my mind and let’s just say by the time I am done “suggesting”, I usually have taken the guy through a free business course on how to run a successful “nduthi empire”. I stand by the motto, “the customer is always right”, so I am entitled.


7 thoughts on “The “Sina Change” syndrome

    jkarimi22 said:
    August 26, 2014 at 4:06 pm

    Good Job Liz 🙂

    I love your piece! It is relatable, relaxed, appealing, simple and impressive. Pretty hearty.

    Liked by 1 person

    mwanyki said:
    August 26, 2014 at 4:21 pm

    nyc art…..


    joy said:
    August 26, 2014 at 11:53 pm

    story of our life…


    Musakali said:
    December 13, 2014 at 11:19 pm

    Good work Wavinya. Keep writing.


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