Send me a letter

No texts and no calls.Just write it down the old school way. I shall always await your letters once you reach school darling.That is how Naima and her parents communicated _through letters.They chose to keep it classical in a world full of technological trends and just loved it that way.They would have blended fully well in they resided in Cuba as Naima was considered weird every time she wrote to her parents. Her school mates called her ‘dem wa malei’ loose;y translated from sheng  as the “girl who owns letters” .

It was time for Naima to leave for school and as usual, her dear parents kissed her goodbye as she board a bus to town.Being a Kenyan who studies in Ongata Rongai, she had to board a matatu (public means of transport in Kenya) to the heart of the town where her school was.She did this for two years until she was going for her third and final year of university and then she met her demise.This is how it happened.

Naima boarded a matatu that had banging music and attractive seats. Just to add to the gist it had wifi and that meant that she could download a book and read it as she went to school.She had heard of how fast the “nganya” matatus are but she cared less.All she wanted was good music and free wifi. The matatu was full and left for Rongai.

Naima had not even located a seat when the bus sped off and was nearly thrown to the ground. She was incensed by the time she sat down and strapped on her seat belt, yes she had the prescence of mind. The makanga collected the fare with much of a struggle as the bus hurtled down the road. The speed was alarming and Naima was getting more uncomfortable by the minute She wanted to complain but she was afraid and as she looked around she realized everyone was unconcerned. She put off the thought and thought herself paranoid. She was startled when the woman beside her started haranguing the African way as soon as she hit her head on the rail of the seat in front of her when the driver carelessly hit a bump.

She was livid and called out the makanga above the din.No , she was not going to bear the brunt of careless driving anymore. People looked at her as if she was bizarre but she did not care. She was speaking up for her life, as well as theirs. People joined her anyway and even Naima albeit feebly. The noise rose above the offensive music and eventually the makanga was overwhelmed by the insults. Seriously, you know how  Kenyans can get. He sought the driver’s help. After a silent consultation, (I honestly don’t understand how  he could have someone whispering in his ear directly and drive so carelessly still) he pulled over at the kerb. He turned to face the passengers and rested his bulky head in his thick and calloused palm. He silently looked on as they hurled endless insults at him.This only served to annoy the passengers more.He did not care.

As soon as the last of the insults were dished out he turned back to the steering wheel and took a deep breath and steadied his palms on the wheel. The force at which he took the car off was enough to displace the passengers and take their breath away at that. The passengers were reduced to wails and screams. The oppressive premonition of doom hung over the vehicle and Naima saw her short life flash before her eyes. She knew it was over. Was there any point in denying that?

She saw her dear parents, friends , two siblings all in one flash.Everything was in perspective, its called living because death is part of life.The driver drove straight hitting another car head on. He survived but took away the life of Naima and fourteen others.

Naima’s parents did not receive any letter.Instead, they received a body and horrifying pictures of their carnage on their social media platforms.

Death due to careless driving is a problem especially with these nganya drivers. Next time you board a matatu or a car with a reckless driver, speak up or step out.This pomp and praise that is awarded to this so called “matatu culture” should stop if it hypes these drivers to be reckless. I even heard of a song titled ‘mat za Ronga ni zii’ to mean matatus plying the Rongai route are cool.So why the hype?

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I stand for safe rides and preservation of life. Not reckless driving, exaggerated music and bandwagon ideas of “cool public rides” because there is nothing cool about untimely deaths. Who is with me?

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