From The Expert

They say that in order to master something, you have to learn it from the best. Nakuru is not the kind of town you are used to. It can get really confusing especially to an amateur. I learnt to survive here through trial and error, but you are lucky to have me at your service. If you follow this to the letter, then little can go wrong.

Let’s take a hypothetical situation and say I live in the outskirts of Nakuru town, at a place called Free Area. Your name is Robin and you are coming to visit me, carrying a small bag. You probably come from a city like Nairobi.

Once you get out of the Mathree, there will be someone there waiting to take your bag. Pay no attention to him for he’s probably asking whether you are going to Nairobi; where you just came from. You move on…

You are used to route numbers such as 237, 111, and 145. Forget about those for the time being. This is because the matatus are clearly marked with a board on top, stating all the stages it will pass through. We use those. Period!! Even when it’s hard to see, there is no need to worry, for the conductors know everything. From your name, where you come from, to the place you are going. Awesome! right?

A conductor comes and goes like, “Mercy Njeri is only thirty bob Maina/Chebet.”

Don’t get confused as yet: Mercy Njeri is a place.

Before you know what hit you, your bag is somewhere at the back of the mat, and you’re seated next to the driver! Don’t panic. Just get out smoothly and politely ask for your bag. To make it faster, you will find it necessary to explain that your destination is Free Area and not Mercy Njeri. With this, you will be dropped so hard your head will spin!

First lesson learnt, be alert. Now go to the right mathree and sit. Please close the window. Even then, the hawkers will try to open them. If they don’t manage, they will knock on the glass window. Let’s assume that the window cannot be closed, you are in deep, deep shit! Wares will be placed on your laps. Expect anything. Needles, bananas, onions, matchboxes pairs of socks, shoe laces, lamp wicks, watches, anything. If they are fruits and you are really hungry, feel free to buy.

For anything else other than food, don’t, and I repeat, don’t buy before you’ve bargained. Let’s say he tells you that a watch is worth 800 shillings. If you play your cards well, you will get it at 150. Just tell him that you only have fifty shillings and work your way upwards.

If you are a man, you will have less trouble. Woe unto you ladies! They will tell you to buy pairs of socks, or shavers for your man. You are better of saying that it’s the money you don’t have because if it’s the man, then, “That is even better because am also single!!!” and I am sure you don’t want the talk to head in that direction………

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