Everyone who takes a bus in Nairobi be it a Hoppa or a KBS must have had an encounter with the “bus hawkers”,they are a bunch of interesting characters though sometimes very annoying but I admire their resilience nonetheless ,every morning I take a bus to Ngong road so I have had my share of hawker experience,there is the sticker hawker whose routine is to read sticker messages one by one, I don’t seem to get anything he says but his accent always brings a smile to my face ..every time!
Then there is the socks hawker, who sells three pairs for a hundred bob,unlike the sticker guy his is a hot commodity every time he enters the bus with a bag full of socks and by the time he’s leaving its almost empty ,but I don’t really like this fella,he once shoved a pair of socks on my lap and tried to tell me “nunulia mzee”,was on the verge of picking the socks and throwing them out the window.
But there is this episode that really left me dumbfounded ,so I’m seated minding my own business and gazing at moving cars on the opposite side of road and wondering when this hustle of mine will actually produce one of those,and in enters this guy,what really caught my attention was the fella’s strong American Ascent ,turns out dude was white, for a moment there i thought he was going to be asking for directions kumbe dude is also hawking.
So the Odiero goes ahead to explain that he is selling some Christian books blah blah,and I’m thinking to myself
1.only quarter of the bus can actually get half what he is saying
2.This a 32 bus,who the hell is going to buy some funny religious books
He proceeds to explain in his little Swahili that he is selling the books at a set of three for a hundred bob,and just when im thinking to myself “dude you totally lost on target group”,hands begin to be raised frantically, “seriously this people are buying this books”? by the time dude is done carton is empty,im sure It was just the Kange ,driver and i that did not buy them books,and for a moment I contemplated purchasing wondering if I was missing something ,im seated perplexed at turn of events wondering if this people really needed the books and thought they would enrich their spirituality or dudes color just sold out.
while im debating on this turn of events funniest thing happens another hawker boards the bus, I wonder how this keeps happening when there is actually a screaming NO HAWKING sign on both sides of bus, hawker guy is like “Waffles at reduced price,customers nitawauzia tatu kwa shillingi ishirini pekee yake”,dude repeats this statement thrice nothing! walks to back of bus ,returns to front nothing! you could actually see dudes frustrated face im sure he was going in his head “simume nunulia mzungu vitabu za mia na mimi nauza tu mbao”…as the bus remains quite and hawker guy completely begging with his eyes, some dude behind retorts “tumenunua vitabu pesa imeisha”,the whole bus burst into laughter and I couldn’t help joining in ,poor guy I just hope color of his skin did not loose him business that day.