Matatus are an efficient and cheap mode of transport for many across Kenya. Some days you love your experience on the road with them, but other days you just can’t help but wonder when you will be done with some of the tortures that come with this culture including annoying passengers. Here are some types annoying passengers:
- The cranes
I’ve never quite understood what bugs this particular group of passengers. The moment you pull out a phone to send a message, they crane their necks to see what you’re doing on your phone. Once, one of the cranes even pointed out an error my friend had made while writing down her message ( the audacity of this particular man was quite laughable). Reading people’s private messages and snooping through their phones is disrespectful to say the least, and don’t even get me started on how rude it is to snoop around a complete stranger’s private conversation. Just stop it cranes!
- The Michael Jacksons and Mariah Careys
This particular group just intrigues me. These are people who blast music from their phones or FM radio stations and go into concert mode in the matatu. They sing at the top of their lungs and more often than not they are the kind of people who tell you in a vocal performance rather bashfully ,”listen to the words, not the voice”, and then boom, you get a vocal performance you’ll never forget in your life, and not for desirable reasons. In short, you’d rather listen to the head pounding matatu music that you loath. My advice to these people is, there are these things called earphones and trust me, you’ll still enjoy that music. To the other members of this group that loudly sing along to the music playing in the matatus, stick to solo bathroom concerts like the rest of us.
- The chatter boxes
I was once travelling from Makueni to Nairobi, a journey that takes roughly two and a half hours. For the entire journey, this particular lady was on her phone talking loudly . I learnt that she was a teacher from a school in the Makueni region headed to Nairobi to visit her family, that she had been the teacher on duty in said school for the week that was now ending, that she had left her child at her neighbor’s house, that her child had not yet eaten by the time she was calling to check on him and even about a fight she was having with one of her friends. This group of people chatter away on their phones revealing details of their lives that may be considered private and therefore unnecessary to reveal in public. When you receive a call while in public transport, unless in instances where it is an emergency, kindly inform the person calling that you are in public transport and can’t speak at the moment but you’ll call them back once you alight. If you can’t do this, then speak in somewhat hush tones and save your fellow passengers the awkward experience that comes with some of the information divulged during a call.
- The niko hapa tu nakuja
These people are as blatant in their lies as they are shameless about it. The variation of the statements they use is, niko kwa jam nakuja , nishafika hunioni?, mimi nakuona wewe uko wapi?. These are people who lie to someone waiting to meet with them about their whereabouts. Someone will be in Ruiru, pick up the phone, and tell the person on the phone that they are at Allsops, well on their way to town. The funny thing is that this habit is now one of the cultures Kenyans have adopted. We all have done it at one point as Kenyans when we are running late for a meeting and want to give those waiting on us some hope of our arriving at the meet up point in the next five minutes(which is always eventually at least 30 minutes to 1 hour later, depending on how deeply crafted the lie was) .
- The rude ones
For these people, I usually assume that they’ve just had those crappy days where everything that would have gone wrong did and now they are taking it out on everyone they meet on that entire day(not that it justifies their actions). I know matatu touts and even drivers can be difficult at times, but these passengers are always rude and snobbish towards them even at the slightest provocation, while some don’t need any provocation at all, they are just rude to these touts and drivers and sometimes even fellow passengers. Regardless of the title one holds, they are the sisters, brothers, fathers, friends, mothers, uncles, and even children of someone somewhere, so treat them with the dignity and respect that you’d want accorded to one of your loved ones.
- The space hogs
This is the group of passengers that usually wants to experience comfort at the expense of their seatmate(s). They may seat with their legs wide apart (especially guys), eating onto the space where the other passenger should place their feet. Others (especially ladies), may want to steal some space for their precious handbags and instead of placing the bags on their laps, they place them on their seats which means that they will eat into some of the space of the other person.
- The goats
These are people who chew like there is no tomorrow. They are loud and obnoxious about their chewing like they want the entire world to know they are chewing. Chew harder, the people in Antarctica can’t hear you yet (sigh). If several people around you have expressed their concerns on your chewing habits, if you can’t change them, then wait and chew at the confines of your home.