By Tongola Mate via fb
‘Affairs of the hearts
Together we’ve grown
If ever apart
All I want you to know
Is your love is life changing
And I couldn’t be the same without you darling
Your love is life saving
You always catch me when I fall…’
11:23pm area code South C
Am forced to reduce the volume of my stereo. Damian Jr. Gong Marley has been on loop since I switched on my Uber App.
“Sometimes it gets so lonely that I can hear birds chirping inside my chest…” My first client announces looking straight into my eyes.
She had been on phone for a while before entering my Honda Fit. I didn’t know how to react. I ended up looking at her chest, maybe to see if I could see a bird’s nest…
Women can get emotional. But one thing I admire about the female mammals, they open up to anyone who cares to listen. They don’t have that valve to bolt up like their male counterparts. Maybe that is why they glow.
She explains that she just discovered that the man she has been seeing and almost moving in with has a family in Uthiru. 4 kids.
They have been in several dates. Countless escapades. Watched the sun set in Manda island, Lamu, flew in a fire balloon in the Mara, had dinner at the Moorings floating restaurant in Mtwapa…
She reveals all these while balancing her tears. She looks frail.
‘BUT WHY?’ I ask my inner soul in capital letters.
Why would one want to hurt such a naive soul.
She goes to her gallery and shows me a picture of them at Art Café, Capital center.
It was taken an hour ago. They looked happy. Happier than the look my daughter plants on her face when I give her permission to wash her doll.
They guy had met her up to break the news. They were headed nowhere.
I adjusted the volume of my stereo. ‘Affairs of the heart …..playing in volume 5. She went mute. I could hear the birds she was talking about chirping in her chest.
“Who sang that song?” She asked.
“Damian Jr Gong. Son to the late Bob Marley”, I replied.
I dropped her at Nairobi West and she thanked me for listening to her. I also thanked her in advance for listening to me tomorrow on Reggae Splash. I promised to play her ‘Affairs of the heart’.
She handed me her business card and vamoosed.
Naomi (not her real name) a SSG at the Moi Airbase.
She looked young and naive, didn’t know this damsel could fly a war plane to Somalia and back.
And then some male species could afford to break her down and get birds chirping in her bonnet!
‘Simba ni mkali lakini hutungwa mimba’ I remembered the old adage.
From West I went to Madaraka where I picked another client who was headed to Ngumo. Cool guy. Silent like a phone on discrete. I had to check severally on the rear view mirror to establish if he had alighted along Mbagathi road.
I dropped him and all he said was, ‘Cool ride. Thanks’
“Give me a 5 star then”. I said in reply.
Another request from Ngumo to Westlands. Two females of Indian origin take the back seat. They were speaking gujarati.
Paranoia set in.
What if they are planning to attack me. Maybe inject me with a syringe then I pass out without having left a will? I started thinking of my lovely wife and kids…and the kush (high grade) hidden in the doughnut spare tire in my boot….endless thoughts.
Less traffic in the CBD. We arrive at our destination without any of the aforementioned incidents.
They alight. I watch them walk away in their saris. Stomachs exposed. By the way, I have never seen a pregnant Indian lady! Have you?
I head to town with some petite dude. I actually had to ask if he was accompanied by the parent or guardian. Baby faced. Until he started talking that is when I realised he was a mature male.
Dropped him along Biashara Street and reminded him to always carry his ID lest he one day gets captured by those Polio vaccine chaps and forcefully gets a shot.
He laughs so hard and waves bye.
I drive downtown to Accra Road. A base where taxi drivers always converge to drink hot but cheap coffee as they strategize on how to topple Anoke the owner of the Uber App and Kamal of Little Cab.
A request comes in. A man, his wife and two kids have just arrived from Mombasa. We are driving from Modern Coast to Mlolongo.
‘ Eid Mubarak’ I text him after paying me via Mpesa.
Mlolongo looks deserted at 1am. Am scared of wild animals. As am heading back, I get a call from a lady in distress. She wanted a cab to take her to the nearest hospital ASAP.
She lives in an estate just after Naivas Mlolongo. I announce my arrival and she comes out wrapped in a Masaai shuka. Alas, she has labor pains. I alight quickly to open the co driver’s door. I pull the seat behind to give her enough leg room.
I drive off faster than Karltundo. Destination Nairobi West Hospital in South C.
On reaching the Imara Daima flyover, she writhes in much pain. Her left hand in her tummy. The right one on my left hand. I didn’t know pregnant women have a firm grip.
“It is here!” She shouts.
Speedometer is 163KM/h. Am sweating profusely. Eyes wide like a mirra driver cruising a Hilux.
“We are almost…” I try to reassure her.
Twaaaaf! Her water breaks.
“Mama yangu!” I shout.
“Rub my back you idiot,” she shouts
“I am driving. Just push” I try to sound like a trained surgeon.
Listen, I have never seen anything giving birth to a new born. Not even a cat. I didn’t know what to expect.
We are at Bob Mill, Mombasa Road. Out destination is 4 kilometers away. The screens in the car can’t be measured by decibels.
I press the gas peddle to maximum. I could hear the throttle sensor squeak. And then an idiot driving a Noah crosses in front of me. I peed on myself. Almost a litre of hot urine.
To avoid hitting the fool, I swerve left towards the Ole Sereni – Southern bypass junction.
Ohh Lord, am now on the bypass. 130KM/h. Away from the hospital. The nearest turning turning is towards Karen/Langata.
“Stop calling your mother and help me! Park this car now” she yelled.
We came to a sudden halt. Then I saw blood.
Resurrected few seconds later.
She had pushed the baby out. The baby was on the mat. I closed the window so that it doesn’t catch cold. I reached out for the safety kit. Wore gloves and adjusted my specs.
Dr. Tongola was going into theater. His main role is to separate the two mammals by cutting the umbilical cord.
Operation successful. I felt larger than life. The mother was wasted. Tired like corruption. The infant was there wrapped in my leather jacket suckling its thumb.
We went to Lang’ata Hospital where on arrival, the watchie almost scampered for safety.
The smell. Fellow Kenyans. Blood, amniotic fluid combined with my urine. You know adult urine has sulphuric acid?
The baby was taken to the nursery and I was left asked if I needed adult Pampers which I obliged.
I went offline and went to tell the new mother goodbye. She hugged me and promised to name her son Tongola Junior.
Wacha nikaoshe gari.