My favourite internet phrase is ‘Do not feed the Troll.’ Of course, it never actually works, because when trolls come at you, you want to smack them so hard they go crying to their mama. Makangas are a little like trolls, except they aren’t really looking for a fight. Their crude behaviour and rough manners are meant to keep you in your place. They bully by intimidation, and they can outshout you most days. Unless of course, you’re BintiM.
A few days ago, Princess and I were coming back from a swimming session. We got into a mat at Nyayo, and I distinctly heard it say it would reach St Mary’s. Things got suspicious when it used the Barracks route instead of the estate route, and when we got to the hill just after the Police Station, it did what most matatus do – it turned to go downhill. A lady seated in front of me started to yell. She said there was a big crowd going to Otiende, so the mathree should go all the way. A few voices chimed in.
What happened next happened very quickly. I saw this burly guy get out of the front seat and start causing chaos. I wouldn’t have noticed him except he was holding a baby in his arms. The guy got out of the car holding the baby in one hand, and with his other hand, he grabbed the makanga and yanked him out of the matatu. Now, I don’t mean gently tugging the guy’s unifiorm. I mean literally yanking. The dude’s feet were way off the ground, and he flew clean out of his seat. How the guy could do that with a baby in one hand is beyond me.
The guy, still holding the makanga with one arm, handed the baby to his wife – who was seated in front of me – and turned all his attention to the makanga. The makanga had apparently sworn they were going to Otiende, and the man was upset because he was taking the sick baby to hospital … or something. He kept yelling the words ‘baby’ and ‘mtoto’ as he shook the makanga inches off the ground.
The driver got out of the car to intervene in the fight, and I sensed trouble, so I nudged Princess awake and we got out of the matatu. She wasn’t too happy, but we were ten minutes from our destination. It wouldn’t kill us to walk.
I kept looking over my shoulder to see what was going on, and as expected, nothing happened. The makanga and driver won the argument, the fuming couple got into another mathree, and the offending vehicle zoomed past us as we walked home. Princess saw this and gave me a scowl that said, ‘We should have just stayed inside!’ Oh well.
The couple stood up for their rights, but all they got was bad tempers and futility. They say bullies back down when you stand up to them. Apparently, the adage doesn’t work for trolls and PSV conductors. Meh.