In the sixties when the colonialists were leaving, among many good things that they left for the continent was the public transport means which the Kenyan sisters (only sisters because they matter to me) call matatu.
It was not so popular though given the poverty levels at that time that is why most of the people considered it a luxury.
Being a son to the World War II veteran meant that I was from an averagely a well to do family and I was the envy of the village.
Jeez Christ, the most memorable Christmas of them all that I ever saw and am sure I will never see any of that kind again was the one 1967. By this time, I was a vibrant teenager who was beginning experience both biological and physical changes.
The former British governor of the former Anglo territory decided to throw a Christmas party for all the veterans who had fought the king’s war as a farewell party before his departure and it would take place 200Km from the capital of that country where we were staying.
This Katarina girl was a God sent gift for this long journey since both of us would move with our fathers to celebrate Christmas as a family.
Now you the so called dot com boys and girls of this age have not seen yet what we call fun and this is what it is. Am sure you have not seen the storied buses of the old we called them errr… yes ‘Kabandore’
The lower apartment of this ‘moving flat’ was considered executive and our older papas and mamas preferred to travel in this and of course as young as we were, denying us the upper chamber would be injustice.
My first sight on Katarina, I knew it would not be easy to share a seat for this long journey given the salivating hungry age mates on board. So on my drawing board it was a cow horn shaped attack.
The type Shaka Zulu used to defeat and conquer most South African king and chiefdoms.
Born a victor, we saw ourselves at the back seat of the upper kabandore and off we set for what came to be an early Christmas for Katarina and shooter in transit.
“Hey, I am shooter son to captain Bugingo and I just completed my high school,” I set my ammunition rolling, “…am glad to meet you,” I continued.
“My friends call me Kate (read as Keit…for those with Western Uganda backgrounds), my parents call me Katarina,” so what will you call me Mr. Shooter?
Jokingly, but tactfully I said, “I am not your parent, neither am I your ordinary friend so I will call you cutie,” and she went into uncontrollable laughter and I knew I was touching the right button.
That started our tickle and giggle journey that the rest of it, we slept and found comfort in each other’s chest. We became inseparable that all the rest of the boys who had interest kept hating me and I kept loving my cutie.
“Shooter, I have found a true friend in you which initially I didn’t have in mind. I am a student at university. I will miss you after this party,” she said worriedly.
“No…no why miss me? Don’t you want us to keep in touch?” At the party, we shared a lot of our secrets and beers of course.
After my third swallow, that is when she confessed her never ending love for me. I raised my hand and touched her left cheek.
Her heart started to race, raised my second palm on to her other cheek by now she was closing her eyes and biting her lips.
When I leaned over to…. Yes do it, her mum came calling. This was the biggest disappointment for us at the party but revenge would be in our kabandore on our return. You just wouldn’t want to imagine what happened.