Ushago.Shagz.Mashamba. Musha(cha)tha. Upcountry. Whichever name you call it. Where I come from the letters ‘r’ and ‘l’ are used interchangeably so are ‘sh’ and ‘ch’, so you can imagine. Characterised by tea/coffee plantations, paths winding up and down, the smell of wet earth so intoxicating like that of fresh brewed coffee, etcetera etcetera.
I love shagz. You just eat and eat. Life moves at a slow pace here. No hooting by crazy drivers and motorbike owners. Life follows a routine that doesn’t involve setting the 4 am alarm. Life is peaceful and the air is a tad cleaner.
What I hate is the means of transport. Sientas,11-seaters, proboxes also known as small five are used, only they don’t carry 11 or 5 people. No. Our fellow villagemates are unable to distinguish between potatoes from their farms and passengers. They know what is meant by an 11-seater, seeing that they went to school; but why should a slim one Gb person be mean and not squeeze him/herself for another passenger? an 11-seater carries a minimum of 14 people.
A sienta carries a minimum of 13 people 13 people. Such an atrocity. Oh unto you if you sit next to a passenger with a long distance relationship with his/her toothbrush/soap/bathroom; and because the car is packed to the brim with other passengers standing he/she is breathing right above you. Suffocating you so bad. As if this is not enough, the road is a bumpy murram road so a rough bearded chin keeps scraping your fore head.
You are angry. If the driver wanted to carry so many people, shouldn’t he have bought a train or one of those commuter buses?
Just when you think you have had enough, he stops to pick up another passenger,’my brother are you blind, can’t you see the matatu is full?’ You are almost yelling.