Part 1 of two parts
I have never been good with deadlines. Tell me what to do and I will do it, just don’t tell me when. Deadlines make me feel caged – trapped. My mother tried with words, threats and sometimes even a slap or two to instill this, apparently very important value of timeliness in me to no avail. So it was not shocking when my mother called me on Friday, two weeks ago, very vexed, that I was not in shags for my cousin’s traditional wedding which was to be on Saturday. I was supposed to be in Maseno by Thursday and Friday dawned bright and early with yours truly still in Nakuru.
“Mom, I promise I will be there by evening…” my voice was soft, convincing, yet I wanted to pull my hair out with frustration.
“Angie, I told you to be here by Thursday. I said Thursday. So how come it is Friday and you haven’t even traveled yet?” Oh no, she was using “the tone” – the one tone that showed she was totally pissed but was holding her temper in check.
“Don’t you even dare say you forgot, or else God help me..”
“Mom, relax please, my work keeps me…”
“Family comes before work Angie, you have six hours to get here, Dorine is like your big sister and you will be there for the wedding, do you understand? ”
My moms temper was like fireworks it could explode in minutes covering the sky with its blinding brilliance then just as quickly cool off. My brother always said that if my mom points a gun at you when she is angry, do not dare dodge the bullet, for that will anger her more, just hold still and pray it doesn’t hit you.
It is with such dreaded thoughts of her temper that jarred me into action. I quickly changed from my official clothing into jeans, t-shirt and sneakers packed a weekend bag and headed to the bus stage to hail a Matatu to Kisumu. On my way to town, I sent a text to my boss who was also my longtime friend from campus that I wouldn’t be heading to the office today.
I got to the bus stage ten minutes later and immediately headed to the Mololine stand.
On the way collided with a bulky body. That smelled of sweat and an undefinable scent.
“Omph!” The air was knocked out of my lungs and I almost fell down butt first. Wrinkled strong hands held me, catching my fall.
“Young man! Whats the hurry are you bent on adding more handicaps to the world? ”
a raspy voice demand behind me, close enough to my ear to make me cringe.I looked up to see the receding back of a jacket that was once blue but which now was mired with dirt to a brownish grey color.
“Asante… thank you” I said to the old man, smiling, truly grateful.
“Your welcome, these young men and their haste” he chuckled, revealing strong white teeth, set on dark healthy gums.
I smiled back , nodding sagely in understanding though I had no idea what he meant.
“How much is it to Kisumu?” I asked at the Mololine counter.
“Seven hundred” I looked at my watch, five thirty. Oh no, my mom was going to kill me then use my skin as a door rug to serve as an example to the rest. I reached in my handbag to get my wallet only to find nothing. I searched in all pockets, fear covering me like a vail of thick fog and for a minute, I couldn’t breath.
Oooh no,no,no, no, . I was starting to consider other means of getting to Kisumu, but hitch hiking, though the only option was out of the question. Stories I have had of kidnapping and what not when still in school had made too great a mark in me to go unheeded.
I searched again frantic now, trying to remember where I had kept it.
“Madam, kama hauna pesa songa wengine walipe, saa mbaya”
The guy was delightfully rude and I was too dazed to participate in the pleasant conversation so I gave way, my mind going through all options I had, that wallet had all my remaining cash, now I had nothing.
Then it hit me, like a wave of fresh air, clearing my somber mood and I dared hope. Equity to M- Pesa! I quickly dialed *247#, confirmed my identity, selected Eazzy Cash, chose M-PESA, and transferred Shs 2,000 to M-PESA; excited, I could make it after all – praying it will take five minutes, then waited, and waited, and waited. Still nothing.
I got very angry. I could feel my temper rising in my throat in the form of a scream, I wanted to haul my phone, break something. I stared around me, people passing, oblivious to my anguish. I decide to call my mom, since I was very close to tears. I struggled to explain what had happened. I had to stop and take a few calming breaths in between
“My Goodness Angie! You should have called I send someone to Luanda to deposit money in your M-pesa. ”
“Am sorry mam,,I didn’t know Equity to M-Pesa takes this long to process a transaction. But there is still time, the wedding starts at 2 and I’ll be there by 11, promise.”
“Now you know why I insisted you should have been here by Thursday?”
“Sorry mom, I’ll be there…I’ll be in the first mat to Kisumu. I’m calling Millie and crash at her place tonight then I will come tomorrow”
“Ok,first, you better be here by 11 tomorrow morning”
“Ok mom,” I said, resigned and hanged up.
Next I called Millie, she picked up after the fourth ring.
“Angie! Whats wrong you sound sick”
“Am good, just having a bad day, can you come get me? I’m at Mololine stage to Kisumu”
“Sure, on my way to the bus stage, what about your cousin..” she asked, sounding worried
“I will explain when you get here, cool?”
Millie picked me up ten minutes later and I poured my story of woes to her listening and kind ears. She was as annoyed as I was at the Equity to M-Pesa delay.
“It’s your money, you ought to access it when you want, hawa watu wana mchezo,” she scoffed.
I nodded in agreement, spent after the graphic detail I had painted to her about what I thought of Equity to M-Pesa transfer.
The next day I woke up refreshed,thanked Millie and bid her goodbye after she had dropped me at the bus stage. I caught the second mat to Kisumu and five hours later I was in Kisumu as promised…only to find a worried mother, with a fifteen minute speech about deadlines, careless drivers, potholes and Equity to M-Pesa transfer.
At exactly noon I received a text from M-pesa saying my transfer had matured.
That was my disappointment, then there is Fred’s experience in part two.