‘Four wheels good, two wheels better’. This isn’t Animal Farm but is life.
The life of a young man from a not so rich family, the life of a stay home mum; the life of a pretty little girl at university, that of a ‘working class’ guy, this is the life of a Boda Boda user.
Still, this isn’t Animal Farm much as we all know that ‘All animals are equal, but some are more equal than others’.
Some get 4 wheels as a 16th Birthday present, some are dropped to their destinations, some have worked their ass off, and have stalled buying a piece of land just to buy their first car. Some ‘married well’, while others demand a car before you dive into their DMs or before your wood-pecker sees off that, that covers the hole of the wood.
Either way, they drive or/and are driven. They may or may not know that special wind-cutting experience on a 2 wheeler.
That jump. Onto that seat, no seat belt, no handles, just you and your ass on the hard seat, legs on the stands.
That experience, as you pass by all those in their cool cars, as you swerve here, turn there.
The flight you get as you avoid yet another close shave with death, yet another knock.
That feeling, that your ride might be the last time you hear yourself breathe.
The Boda Boda, the first of its name, king of the roads, fuel maester, princess of convenience and the devil’s advocate. It graces the streets of Kampala, and any road, alley, boulevard, path or whatever of any city in Africa.
You’ll need it. No, you’ll need to use it. You can’t avoid it. You can’t hide away from it. It’s here, it’s there. It’s everywhere.
Too late for that final examination! It’s there.
Woke up at 8:30 with an interview at 9am! There it is.
Drunk you to stupor, can’t drive? At your service.
Late for a flight! Jump on it.
That midnight call for sex in Mukono! You know what to do.
Cramps at 1am! Period at work! It’s your SOS.
Kids will be picked from school. Yes they will.
Someone to assassinate, shoot. Count on them.
From a Rolex, to Orange Airtime. From directions, to directories.
From dawn to dusk. Whatever the time, whatever the weather.
The Boda Boda will be there for you. It’ll let you down once in a while but will never late you down.
It’s not just the boda that you’ll have faith in; it’s that knight in a shining, rather dirty jacket. But don’t mind the jacket, blame it on the roads, blame it on the dust.
Some have made relationships with these men, others, unbreakable bonds. Some have saved their contacts just in case, others saved them as My boda guy and call on them whenever, wherever. And they are dependable. They never let them down.
I have heard stories of boda guys who have let their clients down. Only that the down in this case is a cosy, sometimes not so cosy places for wrong side business. Funny business. Adult business. Okay, for cat and mouse games. House. Sex. Coitus.
They say those that say; the vibrations from the boda boda engine have a rather lascivious effect on some parts of some ladies some times. Tale for another day.
Not a day goes by without hearing news of yet another boda guy involved in a nasty accident. Not a day goes by without sending off of a boda guy or their victim or client.
It’s become such a customary manifestation that the causality ward of the main referral hospital has been christened the boda ward.
Whoever is in wrong whenever these accident happen, we’ll never know.
One thing we know though is lives are being lost, loved ones are being lost. And it’s not about to stop.
Another thing we know for sure is that there’s too much naivety on the roads. Road signs wherever they are unusually erected, can’t be read properly. ‘Don’t drink and ride’ is just a five worded sentence but carries little or no message to the masses. Boda boda guys ride without reflectors on their jackets. It’s a mess.
It’s hard to understand how a Knight can go to a battle, to a war without his armour. How these Knights in dirty jackets can’t or won’t cover their heads with helmets is beyond comprehension.
Someone once said, “Commuting in Kampala is like a war, so you don’t use indicators. You don’t want to indicate your moves to your enemy on the road.”
You don’t want to lose the battle, you don’t want to die.
If you don’t want to lose, your life, your battle, your war; boda guy or passenger, please buy a helmet.