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The accident: Of my journey to Budalangi and the driver's seat

Lady Speak - By Beryl Itindi | August 31st 2016 at 03:12:11 GMT +0300

I have a phobia of sitting next to the driver in any vehicle, be it public or private. I came to realise that these drivers have a way of securing their side in case of an accident. They will ‘give out’ the passenger side to whatever they are crashing into, be it another vehicle or a building. I don’t know about you but those are the results that my research yielded!

Because of that, I always try my best to sit on the driver’s side just in case of an accident. Okay, I know you will tell me that if it’s my last day on earth, nothing can prevent it. Fine, I agree, but let my last day be on the driver’s side. If that side is hit, then I know it was actually my last day, ‘sio ati dere alinipeana’.

So there was this one time I boarded a bus from Nairobi to our rural home in Budalangi the land of milk, honey and beautiful women. The land where all men are handsome from their faces all the way to their back pockets where their wallets are. The land where the ancestors of the women’s hero Eric Macakiage, came from, he just doesn’t know it yet. Where was I again before I was interrupted by the thought of being carried home in a Limo? Yes, I was travelling home using one of the buses from Machakos airport.

The late Hon Michuki had just introduced the new transport laws and all the buses had been fitted with seat belts. Those were the days when all the public transport vehicles would travel both day and night with no limitations. Because of my phobia, I secured a seat somewhere in the middle on the driver’s side and belted up. It was going to be a long night on the road.

We left Nairobi at around midnight and I dozed off somewhere after Limuru and slipped into dreamland. One hour into my peaceful sleep, there was some vigorous movement followed by loud screams. Then everything went quiet. I woke up from my sleep confused. I could not even figure out what had happened. All I know is that I was hanging upside down from my seat. The seat belt had held me to my seat.

Still confused, I looked around only to see people jumping out of the bus through the shattered windows. It was all dark and quiet. I heard a man shouting “Wenye wanaweza kujitoa tokeni.” That’s when it hit me that we’d had an accident and the bus was actually upside down. No wonder I was hanging from my seat.

I sat there and waited for a Good Samaritan to come and help me out but none was forthcoming. Those men who were helping people out were concentrating on those who had been thrown off their seats. Those of us who were hanging were left to ‘unhang’ ourselves.

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I struggled to undo my seat belt and when I finally succeeded, I fell down with a loud thud onto someone else who shoved me away like a hot cassava shouting, “Angalia pahali unaenda.” Surely, this person shoving me away must have been as confused as I was, how was I supposed to know he was down there in that darkness?

In that confusion, I crawled out of the bus and went and sat next to the rest of the passengers who were already out. Because I did not want to be shoved again, I went and sat next to a passenger who looked composed, he wasn’t moving an inch. He was just lying there relaxed; at least that is what I thought.

Five minutes later, this ‘passenger’ started breathing very heavily as if snoring, I got scared and shook ‘him’ to wake up. My sister once told me that it was dangerous to fall asleep after an accident because one could easily slip into a coma.

As I shook ‘him’, I felt a rough surface that was warm, then it lifted its head up. Wololo! It was a buffalo that the bus had hit. I ran back to the bus. Better safe than sorry. Luckily, no life was lost during the accident. I don’t know, maybe the buffalo died later.

I am made to understand that schools break off for the December holidays starting the end of this month and we will be travelling home earlier than expected. Drivers, keep your eyes on the road, giving birth to women like me is not easy!

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