Boda-boda. They are a necessary evil, mostly because they are able to get us to the doorstep of our destinations. Everyone who uses bodas has probably experienced the different kinds of riders; some you will like and some will just leave you cursing.
Boda bodas are a necessary evil in this country. We can hate them, we can love, but sure as hell, we cannot ignore them. And often times, we cannot avoid using them. But have you ever imagined the different categories of boda-boda riders out there? Let’s save your thought process.
Boda-boda riders run their lives as know-it-alls. They know every place in Uganda. You can ask them for directions to ‘Game of Thrones’ and they will assure you how they know the place. Just don’t worry about anything else, simply mention any random place in your mind, make up any place and there will be this one boda-boda rider who claims to know the area in and out. “Boss ku Avengers kakaaga” to literally mean; “Boss it only costs Shs6,000 to ‘Avengers’.” They have no idea that Avengers is simply a movie title. After a gruesome ride to Avengers, they will finally confess their ignorance and ask you to direct them. They will claim they had confused Avengers with another common place.
Sometimes you just want to have a quiet bodaboda ride. But there will always be this one chap who never runs out of conversation starters. Let them dare pick you from a hotel, the conversations will rotate around the people at the hotel. If you sight a beautiful girl, this boda-boda philosopher will share his wealth of theories about these beautiful girls. Then you meet those who take it a step further — they begin to share their life experiences, they tell you about the amount of money they leave home every day.
Some will even bring up political topics. And they will always expect you to agree with their perspective. Well, boda-boda riders know it all. In this same category are the chaps who try to speak English just to trap you. English speakers suffer in this town, boda-boda riders use it as a chance to over-charge you. In Kampala, you never haggle in English, always pull out your Luganda with all the idioms.
The cheap ones
Have you had the experience of a boda-boda rider undercharging you? You are headed to the dusty town of Bulindo from another dusty town of Kulambiro and the boda-boda claims it will cost only Shs2,000. You ask him to repeat this and he confirms the same price. Those are scary moments on a boda-boda. After riding all the way to Bulindo, he realises the price was too low, he begins to beg you for an increment.
The no-change chaps
No matter what happens, these ones will never have change. They always use this as a trick to get more money from their passengers. The moment a boda-boda rider charges 4K instead of 5K, 9K instead of 10K, be certain, he is about to pull off the ‘no-change’ stunt. He will search every part of his body and there will never be change. Since you are in a rush, you will simply let him keep the change.
The team no water
Just like the cloth that wipes the rolex frying pan, there are boda-boda riders that belong to the ‘no water’ team. From their jackets to the trousers and the boda-boda itself, water is something to which they never relate.
However, of late, there is another faction of boda-boda riders that are very perfect. They are super clean, they speak perfect English, they even use deodorants. You get on their boda-bodas and get worried that they are smarter than you in every aspect. If you are not careful, they will make you feel insecure. You do not want to trust your girlfriend with these boda-boda riders.
This is where you find all boda-boda riders that use ride-hailing apps. They follow every rule and regulation to the dot. If you are rushing somewhere, kindly avoid boda-boda apps. Because you will lose your mind when they cannot jump on the pavement when they cannot pass the traffic lights until they are green. Rules are good, but sometimes, life is on the other end of breaking those rules. The boda-boda trade requires fast-decision making. Sometimes what saves the passenger’s life is the moment of breaking a rule or two. Nonetheless, we appreciate these obedient boda-boda riders. You remind us of the nerds in school.
The pimp my boda-boda
If you have seen those boda bodas with tarpaulin to cover one from the rain, you have then seen the presence of the pimp-my-boda-boda types. They will outdo themselves in making sure their boda-boda is as stylish as possible. Some have even bought state of the art music systems and installed them on the bike. Some have pimped up the sound of their horn. Once they hoot, you are bound to think it is an oncoming trailer. They have that comfortable back and footrest. It is one of those few moments a boda-boda ride becomes more desirable than a taxi ride.