It was the evening of 2nd September, 2015. Leaving the young village-town right at the heart of Kiambu County, Central Kenya. The ambiance could hardly give me a rest. It impacted vigor in me and I would therefore not calculate my footstep while leaving my brother’s “simba“. I felt as if I had been riding on a tandem all day long.
As I boarded a Nissan Matatu, I was mulling over something, great indeed, event after event and at the same time anxious over what I was now seeing unrealistic. My mind flashed back six months ago when I received the phone call from a strange voice and yet sounding so natural as Mama’s advice. Here I was. Not the real me but maybe a corrupted folk.
I joined the small group of people that had congregated to see me off. Ready to leave the busy city towards the famous JKIA (Jomo Kenyatta International Airport), a place I had visited once during my high school days when the best reward was a zero diet, Mkate na soda, (we enjoyed anyway, we had no choice). This time not as a tourist but as a customer.
USING A MOTORBIKE TO JKIA
If you have been to Nairobi City in the evening, you need not be told that traffic jam can ruin your day. This was a special day though, the road were clear not until we got to Uhuru Highway. Everything became a mess. It was as if the devil had just been sent to cut short my dream. We spent almost an hour going round the round-about. Time was moving fast so was my heart rate. As soon as we got our right lane, the matter became worse. The famous highway became a parking lot.
It was now less than half an hour to my check-in time at the airport. There was no way I could get there on time via a private, presidential motorcade or racing vehicles. I had to look for alternative.
A motorbike would maneuver between the parked vehicles on the highway. I took my huge luggage and searched for a bodaboda. I didn’t even consider the cost which I didn’t need a rocket science or a mathematical formula to tell it wouldn’t be less then Ksh 1000. My aim was to get to the airport on time. Within no time, the bodaboda operator, my huge traveling bags and I were all on the bike headed to JKIA.
It was a ride to remember but worth it. I was assured to be there in fifteen minutes which I highly doubt we spent even to date. Maybe seven or eight. I could only hear a streamlined sound cutting across my ears as he hummed. He kept insisting that we were two minutes away. I seemed not to believe before I later did so.
I would later come to know that bodaboda operators were never allowed into the airport premises. My ride came to an end a kilometer away from Terminal A1 as indicated on my booking status. “You have to hire a cab from this point”, he said as he slowed down. But I could not see any cab apart from private cars which all headed in the opposite direction. “Don’t worry they will spot you and come to your rescue,” he added.
Before I gathered sobriety and come up with the next move, and before I even paid my new friend, a private car halted by our side. It was right on time. Not even a cab but a privately owned car.
“Nimeona uko na mizigo mingi sana nikasema nikusaidie. Naelekea huko ndani kuchukua rafiki yangu anatewasili kutoka Uropa“. (I have decided to come to your aid considering you have huge luggage. I am going to pick my friend who is arriving from Europe). Even before I said something if at all I was to say, he had already picked up my luggage. I paid Mwangi Njogu, the bodaboda operator a 1000 shilling note and dashed into Tr. Muriithi, as I learnt he is called, and we left to the whatever Terminal A1.
THE VEHICLE THAT WAS TO TAKE ME TO THE AIRPORT ARRIVES AT LAST
After a through security check at the finally founded Terminal A1, I successfully checked in and was allowed a 15min break to have the last words with my parents. Where were they anyway? I was not sure that they were not yet stuck at the same point I had left them 40min ago.
I walked out and luckily after a phone call, they were arriving at the Terminal A1. We shared our last moment, laughed, joked, retold our experiences along the way to the airport and it was finally my time to leave.
I was now to board my first plane ever, It was a KLM operated airline.
…………………to be continued.