For the most part, riding in a bus or matatu is a temporary form of relief. I don’t worry about traffic. I can read a book or just stare at life going by. I can dream about the things I’d love to do and may never get to. I can give conversation my undivided attention.
And I get to walk as I connect between bus stops. When I’m walking to CBD from work, I sometimes pass through Uhuru Park and just marvel at this pocket of silence away that shields us from the traffic that is just a few meters away. I see people walk by. I see unemployed or casual laborers sleeping in the grass to pass away the hour because they can’t afford lunch, and will have to trek two hours home when offices close. I get irritated by the preachers deciding to start their church in the open and disturbing the silence with their hoarse voices. I smile at a couple that is definitely not Lazizi being taken to Java by the crooner of that Sauti Sol song. If you ask me, I think this couple in the park is better off, sitting on the grass and drinking soda.
But this Sunday was just as nice. On my ride back from church, I sat with a friend and we talked about everything from our (un)important dilemmas, the great service (I attend a fabulous church), writing and literature, the stories of our lives and maybe how we can make a difference. When the matatu got to Nyayo stadium, we found there was a detour through Lusaka road because there was a marathon. So that lengthened the journey by another hour. I even remarked that if I’d known the day would end up like this, I might have considered not attending the service in person but on live stream. But it was Sunday, so I didn’t mind. Then we got to Kencom, and had to do the trek of through the streets to where we pick our mathrees. It was a very laid back day. When I got home, I remembered the tail end of Jill Scott’s song: