I miss Umoinners.
Not for nothing, they are part of the matatu culture in Kenya and a big part of my young adult life. When I was younger and spending allowances, I would hop into the latest Umoinner foregoing the noise and oscillating fares. I started paying taxes and discovered that Utimos are not only cheaper but sane. The catch however is that while Umoinners make quick trips from the CBD through self made routes to Umoja, Utimos will snake their way though NTSA designated roads.
Umoinners will get you to where you need to be in good time come hell or high water. You will be comfortable on their padded seats as you try and peak through the windows conjured to ensure you do not lose your phone. I miss the scent of the buses. Each ‘manyanga’ has its own scent that will stand out no matter how many times they pimp that ride. It is in the many years of my commute that I have learned of music by Tarrus Riley and known more songs by SWV.
Currently, I am in a small town. Buses deck at a given time and you can track one with an app which is phenomenal for planning. The organization that Kenya had in the 90’s, without technology of course. We could easily live up to it and do better if we had an actual government transport system.
How much do I need to pay for my fare? Nothing. As a student, you flash your school ID, the driver marks on a piece of paper clinging to one of those KCSE looking clipboards and you are off to a seat. When you get close to your destination you yank the cord and alight. I am still getting lost. Between social anxiety of being in a new space and trying to read my google maps, it’s a miracle I haven’t made it to Canada.
Instagram is what I would like to call a safe social media platform for me. It is the false sense of control that makes it a viable choice for me. Even with the obviously visible cloak that is the ‘privacy’ of social media, I find it hard to make a public declaration of going ‘Majuu’. For me, it is not a thing of social media clout to move to another country and posting images of renowned fast food chains or the all mighty Starbucks (not sustainable as a daily expense on a student budget).
Moving from a country that I genuinely love and galavanting across seas was simply because I wanted to further my studies. What I wanted to study was not locally available at a higher level. What came close was barely affordable. The two made worse by the recent conversations of what I now call brain shaming. Students taking on debt to go to school in the hopes of making something of themselves only for the policy makers to nullify their time and money investment with stupid phrases like ‘education is not everything’ and ‘be an entrepreneur’ .
I could literally throw up.
Being accepted into a system, no bribes or connection needed, affirms my talents and is a gift I would want to give everyone reading this. A chance where your talents and creative sense are not only celebrated but invested in. With each blessing is the responsibility. For me to get a free ride opportunity to study will see me work on campus and other jobs too with terms and conditions dictated by the offer granted. That’s the more serious stuff,
The bizarre part having to reconcile with my brain to know that, the boot of a car is a trunk and a few avocados cost $4. The village girl is squealing in despair at the thought. I mean in Kirinyaga avocados are fed to the dogs in the village in plenty while now, I window shop sleep deprived avocados.
The one question I have gotten on Instagram is,why leave media for Majuu barely before scratching the surface? The answer is simple. Since I started working at 17, no title (or lack thereof) has defined me. Whilst doing Christian Radio and TV fulfilled immensely, I am content with a hiatus that will better me in the long run.
This is my thank you card to all those who tuned in to Family Radio and shared their thoughts. The ones who came for interviews and engaged in fun, thought provoking and sometimes painful conversations. To the ones who built me as a practitioner and as a person. The lessons I carry with me were made for this season.
I will share my ‘Majuu’ experience in other posts but if anyone asks tell them I am in school to be better. This was a dream in many a rides, in an Umoinner.