Kituo kidogo cha mabasi kijijini mwetu kilijaa shughuli za watu na mabasi. mabasi mengi yalikuwa yamejaa mizigo. Chini, palikuwa na mizigo zaidi ya kupakia. Makondakta walikuwa wanataja majina ya sehemu mabasi yalikokuwa yanaelekea.
The small bus stop in my village was busy with people and overloaded buses. On the ground were even more things to load. Touts were shouting the names where their buses were going.
“Mjini! Mjini! Magharibi!” Nilisikia kondakta akiita kwa sauti. Lile ndilo basi nililohitaji kupanda.
“City! City! Going west!” I heard a tout shouting. That was the bus I needed to catch.
Basi la kwenda mjini lilikaribia kujaa, lakini watu wengine walikuwa wanasukumana kupanda. Baadhi yao walipakia mizigo chini ya basi. Wengine waliiweka katika sehemu ya juu.
The city bus was almost full, but more people were still pushing to get on. Some packed their luggage under the bus. Others put theirs on the racks inside.
Abiria wapya walishika tiketi zao huku wakitafuta mahali pa kukaa. Wanawake waliokuwa na watoto wodogo waliwatayarisha kwa safari hiyo ndefu.
New passengers clutched their tickets as they looked for somewhere to sit in the crowded bus. Women with young children made them comfortable for the long journey.
Nilijipenyeza ndani na kukaa karibu na dirisha. Mtu aliyeketi karibu nami alishika mfuko wa plastiki wa kijani kibichi. Alivaa viatu vilivyochakaa, koti kuukuu na alionekana kuwa na wasiwasi.
I squeezed in next to a window. The person sitting next to me was holding tightly to a green plastic bag. He wore old sandals, a worn out coat, and he looked nervous.
Niliangalia nje na kutambua kwamba nilikuwa naondoka kijijini kwangu, mahali ambapo nililelewa. Nilikuwa naenda katika mji mkubwa.
I looked outside the bus and realised that I was leaving my village, the place where I had grown up. I was going to the big city.
Upakiaji mizigo ulikamilika na abiria wakawa wameketi. Wachuuzi walizidi kusukumana kutaka kuingia ndani ya basi ili wauze bidhaa zao. Kila mmoja alitaja kwa sauti majina ya bidhaa alizokuwa anauza. Maneno yao yalinifurahisha.
The loading was completed and all passengers were seated. Hawkers still pushed their way into the bus to sell their goods to the passengers. Everyone was shouting the names of what was available for sale. The words sounded funny to me.
Baadhi ya abiria walinunua vinywaji. Wengine wakanunua vitafunwa vidogo na kuanza kutafuna. Wasiokuwa na fedha, kama mimi, walitazama tu.
A few passengers bought drinks, others bought small snacks and began to chew. Those who did not have any money, like me, just watched.
Shughuli hizi zilikatizwa kwa mlio wa honi ya basi, ishara kwamba tulikuwa tayari kuondoka. Kondakta aliwataka wachuuzi kuondoka ndani ya basi.
These activities were interrupted by the hooting of the bus, a sign that we were ready to leave. The tout yelled at the hawkers to get out.
Wachuuzi walisukumana huku wakitafuta njia ya kushuka. Wengine waliwarudishia wasafiri chenji zao. Wengine walifanya juhudi za mwisho kuuza bidhaa zao.
Hawkers pushed each other to make their way out of the bus. Some gave back change to the travellers. Others made last minute attempts to sell more items.
Basi lilipoondoka kituoni, nilichungulia dirishani. Nilijiuliza endapo ningerudi na kwenda kijijini kwangu tena.
As the bus left the bus stop, I stared out of the window. I wondered if I would ever go back to my village again.
Safari ilipoendelea, joto lilikuwa jingi ndani ya basi. Niliyafumba macho yangu nikinuia kulala.
As the journey progressed, the inside of the bus got very hot. I closed my eyes hoping to sleep.
Lakini mawazo yangu yalirejea nyumbani. Je, mamangu atakuwa salama? Je, sungura wangu wataleta hela zozote? Je, ndugu yangu atakumbuka kunyunyizia maji miche ya miti yangu?
But my mind drifted back home. Will my mother be safe? Will my rabbits fetch any money? Will my brother remember to water my tree seedlings?
Njiani, nilikariri jina la mahali mjomba wangu alipoishi kwenye mji mkubwa. Nilikuwa bado nafikiria wakati nilipopatwa na usingizi.
On the way, I memorised the name of the place where my uncle lived in the big city. I was still mumbling it when I fell asleep.
Baada ya saa tisa, niliamshwa kwa kelele za kuita abiria waliokwenda katika kijiji changu. Nilichukuwa mfuko wangu mdogo na kuruka nje ya basi.
Nine hours later, I woke up with loud banging and calling for passengers going back to my village. I grabbed my small bag and jumped out of the bus.
Basi la kurudi lilikuwa linajaa upesi. Muda mfupi baadaye, lingeanza safari ya kwenda mashariki. Jambo la maana kwangu wakati huo lilikuwa kuanza kutafuta nyumba ya mjomba wangu.
The return bus was filling up quickly. Soon it would make its way back east. The most important thing for me now, was to start looking for my uncle’s house.