Rush hour and the Matatu touts are not bothered about people entering the minibuses. People are flocking in after a long day of work. I look for one that looks serene.
I just want peace of mind. Most of them are loud! One even has a graffiti warning “if it’s loud, you’re old”. I oblige and enter the one that suits me.
Once inside, I scan around quickly to get my seat. They are all occupied save for one next to a man who judging from his posture, has just been paid. He has just come from Nakumatt, his shopping is right under his seat. He scrolls through his galaxy S6 phone, busy enjoying the internet experience.
I sit next to him on what is remaining of the chair. It’s uncomfortable but I endure because this is not my car. Thoughts rush through my mind to tell him to sit properly. Just before I open my mouth, I advise myself against it.
Why of all the days did traffic choose to stall today? I silently curse the painfully slow traffic. We have taken 30 minutes to reach OTC, on our way out of Nairobi’s CBD. These are the moments I admire those who choose to walk, and there are many who have opted to do that.
In a flush, someone from outside opens the window and the galaxy S6 is no more. I am jolted by the impulse my seatmate has, he steps on my foot as he is startled. Instead of complaining to him, a sudden empathetic feeling engulfs me. I have been in those shoes before.
We start talking. I tell him how this part of town is not a place to flush out phones and gadgets. There are professional pickpockets who have perfected the art of sliding open matatu windows and shopping for people’s phones. I know the advice is late in coming but I have to sustain the conversation, the tension has to be diffused in some way.
He then asks me for my phone, to call his brother. Reluctantly, I pass him my phone. I’m thinking, “Yours has been snatched, and what if mine is also…..Never mind”. He tries to dial the number but his fingers are shaking, so much that I offer to dial the number for him.
“Your phone has been stolen; do you have the IMEI number? Please call Safaricom to track it”. Wait, so it was not your phone? That’s water under the bridge.
Gadgets have brought us much convenience, since we now can work even in traffic. Professional snatchers are also aware of this, and they cash in on the unsuspecting road users. Be careful while enjoying your gadgets on Nairobi roads.