Wednesday, 26 June 2019

Danfo in the Rain

Flagging down a danfo when there’s a sudden downpour of rain had been one thing I’d always dreaded. It was based on the ugly experience I had experienced a year ago when I entered a white bus, popularly known as ‘tata.’ The roof of the bus was leaking and rain came down in torrents, drenching the passengers’ clothes. It was a dreadful experience…one that made me avoid taking a white bus or anything related when it’s raining.

That was why when I had crossed the pedestrian bridge on a fateful evening and preempted that it would rain some minutes later, I hurried to join the long BRT queue and decided to wait till when it would get to my turn.

About thirty minutes later, I was sitting on the bus, watching as dark clouds filled the sky and the rain came down in sheets, people running in a bid to shield themselves from getting drenched.

I had rushed to my WhatsApp status, grinning widely as I typed ‘Trust your instinct always.’

It felt really good. I felt really good!
***
“Should I come down for you?” I had asked the long-limbed man dressed in a suit and tie, with a stern glare.

I had heard a series of tales about men insisting that they must sit beside the window, in the front seat of a danfo.

“As you like,” he replied, shrugging nonchalantly.

With a smile lingering on my lips, I got down from the bus, proud of myself for challenging a man to sit beside the driver.

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Returning to my seat, I unlocked my phone and opened the file that contained my evening prayers. Ramadhan was a fun period, courtesy of my effective planning and discipline. I would have packed three dry dates from home as well as a bottle of chilled water, Hollandia yoghurt…and a bunch of banana and groundnut from the office. My targeted prayer points had been typed and saved to my device and the Hisnul Muslim app. did justice to reciting the du’abefore breaking of fast.

So danfo was the best resort on such days because it gave room for the period to sit back, pray and break the fast. Imagine standing for hours in a BRT queue with an empty stomach…then breaking your fast whilst standing! Danfo was definitely the best resort!

After about twenty minutes of calling passengers and the bus getting filled up, we prepared to leave the park. I was basking on my new-found love for banana and groundnut – which I would later agree was the bestiftar for a Lagosian- while gulping down my bottle of yoghurt and wondering why the man – sitting beside me- looked so calm and composed.

We had just started our journey when the wind howled loudly, dust wafting the air and causing passers-by to run for protection. It was obvious that it would rain anytime soon because the sky was darkening…in fact, the rain had started to come down in sheets.

It was then it hit me! What happens when it starts to rain? How do we cope when we’ve just started our journey?

I reached for the car door glass winder and to my utter amazement, it was broken. In fact, there was no glass!

A downpour had begun and rain streamed down into the seats. Unable to keep my eyes open, I asked, feeling a sudden surge of anger run through my veins. “Driver, what will happen oo? This rain is disturbing us!”

Mon bo. Ma wa fi nylon cover e,” the old man replied, parking beside the road and alighting from the bus with white nylon.

He opened the creaky door and the ‘gentleman’ seated beside me assisted in placing the nylon as a cover.

“You’ll have to hold it like this,” he said to me, handing over the tip of the nylon.

I was utterly astonished! We were just at Ketu and the snarled-up traffic looked scary. Would I be this way till I arrive at my final destination?

The nylon had been punctured at the middle and streaks of raindrops filled my dress and poured beneath the car door. I briskly placed my phone in the middle of my bag while I held on to the nylon, wishing that minutes would turn into hours and I would finally be home, having a hot bath and sipping from a mug of hot tea.

All these while, Mr. Gentle was busy with his iPad, totally unaffected from the effect of the rain. His cloth was dry and he sat comfortably beside the driver, not worried about how wet he would be before he arrives home…not wondering if he would catch a cold before the next morning…not bothering to know how difficult it was to hold on to a nylon for hours and watch as raindrops pour on one’s seat, without control.

Mr. Gentle was lucky! Suddenly, I wished that I had agreed to sit beside the driver. I wished I hadn’t tried to prove that I was truly a Lagosian.


Another error: there were no windshield wipers! Yes, you heard me right. The driver was driving in the rain without windshield wipers. He would park and get down from the bus intermittently, pouring soap water over the windscreen and making use of drips from his sachet water to ensure that the screen becomes clearer.

Hours later, I would return home- drenched in rainwater- and narrate the terrible experience I had encountered in the danfo to my sister. She would laugh loudly and I would join her in laughter, talking about the perks of commuting using public transportation in Lagos.

Weeks later, I would also read a post written by a Facebooker, relating how a lady had insisted that she must sit beside the door in the danfo he had entered, despite the fact that he had gotten there about twenty minutes before she arrived. Unfortunately, the rain started to fall heavily and the lady was tremendously affected. I would have sworn I was the lady but the scenario was completely different!

Can you sense that it is about to rain? It is advisable you think twice before entering a danfo because it will be an experience you would never forget!

Translation
Mon bo. Ma wa fi nylon cover e- I’m coming, I’ll use a nylon to cover it. 

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2 comments:

  1. Hahh
    Next Time you won't sit there
    Hahaha
    Pelé
    Well written
    And I love the narration
    Aesthetic
    Keep on bleeding on virgin paper...

    ReplyDelete