Taxi Tales: Kampala with no Traffic
By David Tumusiime, Uganda:
We were travelling into the city, in the morning silence. Contemplatively quiet, were those who were awake, and the sleepers looking for our shoulders like we were their sweethearts. Just another day going into the city to look for paper with Tumusiime Mutebile's signature. Except it wasn't.
The city was rushing up to us faster than it usually did on other mornings. Like a sulky wife suddenly sweet tempered, making us extremely nervous.
The conductor was the first to become unsettled, “Eh! Kyi kino (What is this)? No jam? If I did not know this route, I would swear upon my betting slips we are on the wrong road. Where are all the other cars? Has the government fallen and we are the only ones who don't know?”
Wading through her drowsiness, a route regular couldn't agree more, “Kyogereko (talk about it). If I get to office at this time, my boss will get ideas this should be my usual arrival time”.
We all began to peer out our taxi windows fearfully, looking for apocalypse, “I can't smell any teargas. Can you smell anything? But isn't it too early for teargas?” On a weekday driving into a town with Sunday morning quiet…
The monuments were all not in place, “I tell you, even the beggars are not sleeping on the street today. Where have they scurried off to and why? If we don't find any of those street urchins begging at the Jinja road roundabout, me I swear I'm turning around and going back home”.
We could not figure out why there was no traffic jam and we were reaching for anchor, “Sincerely UCC should help us and ban these fake phones. I set all the public holiday alerts in my phone calendar but my phone was quiet today. My news alerts do not indicate Kizza Besigye is coming to town either. Now why do I need a phone which has to be woken up to do its work?”
Then we saw a scarf flying off the back of the head of a woman running with a sack before her: A bright yellow shirt KCCA enforcer in green trousers in pursuit, disappearing through a passage between two buildings. Phew. The Kampala we knew and the day could begin.