Lo and behold on a few occasions they are answered and that, for me qualifies as a modern day miracle in Bongoland. Just incase you are one of the commuters who has to stop over at Mwenge and then cross the bridge at the valley after the barracks to yet another side of the Big City heading towards Bagamoyo then you understand the daily agony of fighting to get onto a bus so as to continue the journey.
For the hardworking nation builders who wait for the dala dalas from inside the bus park (if I may call it that) they have to fight for limited space with the nocturnal traders who sell anything from chopped up limbs of octopus to second hand shoes at give away prices. On a good day you can get a dejected designer shoe for only 2,000/-! What you do not believe me? Buying, in this case is believing.
Of course going at a bargain price the shoes are not on display in neat little rows far from it, they are strewn on plastic sheets and once you grab the first shoe of your liking, you hold on to it like gold and ask the hawker to search for the second shoe that is somewhere hidden in the heap.
Patience does finally pay but be warned on some days the shoes are so pathetic you would not even wear them even if you were paid. In between waiting for the elusive buses to come we lady folk fish out shoes. Once it gets too late the commuters join the ones outside the bus park at the Puma petrol station formerly BP.
At the petrol station there is a variety of transportation on offer to suit the size of your pocket. The taxi drivers parked right next to the supermarket do not look like they are doing a roaring business but they park there all the same. With the stiff competition form the bajaj riders the taxi drivers are now rather humble and do remember faces.
The bajaj riders are plain annoying. They park right behind us the commuters and as they manouvre their way out of the crowd they could be rightly accused of intentionally trying to mow us down with all the cheek they can muster. Not a long time ago hiring a bajaj was an exclusive affair, you know; one passenger going in one particular direction. Now the tables have turned.
They now have a limited list of specific destinations and try to bundle four passengers into their tired rickety contraptions. And as the evening turns into night the fare reduces. So in addition to the highly intoxicated hooligans calling out the buses another group though slightly sober now shout out their own routes. Sometimes when the going gets really tough would be commuters climb atop lorries and trucks.
The women are usually pushed and pulled onto the heavy vehicles and from the laughter on their faces one would think they are going for a picnic. I just wonder how on earth they get the driver in front to stop when they want to jump off. Once in while a pickpocket miscalculating his target will get a thumping of his life time or an unfortunate passenger will realise that either the phone or wallet has gone missing. Such is the drama as we impatiently wait to climb on a dala dala and head home.