The Old Taxi Park was treated to scenes of drama last Tuesday. A bunch of rowdy taxi touts had decided amongst themselves that a stubborn passenger like myself was to be given a deserving lesson that would live to be told to future generations.
“Abanyankole tubakoye,” and a barricade of other insults followed and I could literally see my obituary being written. I didn’t care though as I had a few words of my own to say to them and this only angered them more. It wasn’t long before a Utoda official whisked me away to safety.
I had stubbornly refused to give the taxi conductor the pre-agreed Shs1,500 and was willing to part with only Shs500 for a trip from Mutungo to town. I am aware of basic principles of service delivery so if you accord me the best services, I’ll surely go out of my way to pay you.
So anyway I boarded a taxi from Mutungo that morning and took the dreaded middle seat at the back row and I was sandwiched between a Karimojong lady with her two babies and a man who was probably a land broker. The stout man who looked like he was in his 30s kept reaching out for his phone talking on top of his voice to the anger of many in the taxi. I was met by a not so heavenly breath everytime he faced my direction with streams of saliva landing on my face when he spoke on phone. At times he picked calls on a phone that looked like mine but I ignored it. That “maaso awo” shout out from Mr landbroker couldn’t have come at a better time . I then had to move out to allow him way so you can imagine the pungent smell that moved out with him.
I had to move back into the taxi and I sat at the corner next to the Karimojong lady with her babies. I still don’t understand why the kids felt the need to share their mangoes with me. One of the kids brought the mango to my mouth and I struggled to say anything more polite than… “kaana gwe nvaako” and pushed him away. The kid pulled a smart move and dropped the half-bitten saliva engulfed mango on my smartly ironed white cotton shirt. Just what I needed! Their mother was even more fiery wondering how a man of my age would lust over a kid’s mango. She said something in her native language that I perceived as, “pathetic greedy man” while her kids performed some victory laughter.
I was at the centre of a circus from a man playing loud kadongo kamu music off his “katorch series” to another woman making threats on phone like….. “kakazi gwe vaku musajja wange”. Already late for my appointment , I decided to shift to the front seat. Joining me at the front seat was that Prisca chic I had told that I was dying in hospital a few days back. She almost fainted when she saw me alive and kicking.
So when the conductor did his customary rituals of… “Owe mumaso ziwereze”… I was already sick to the stomach and handed over only Shs500. There was no way I was giving that guy the whole amount after what I had gone through. It’s at that time when the driver and conductor trapped me at the exit and called their playmates to have some fun with me. Prisca laughed at me on her way out of the park before I was saved by that Utoda guy. Some self examination and I was short of a phone and money that could have been taken by the smelly broker. After all that, I will be taking a long break from taxis.