I wanted to tell you about my other matatu adventure on Friday—actually, one before the Q-tip experience. I needed to take two matatus to get to the U.S. embassy. I asked at the front desk for how to get there and the reception clerk helpfully told me that I needed to go to the old taxi park, and from there take a matatu that went on the Kasanga-Gaba road. He even told me how much I should expect to pay, which was exceedingly helpful.
So. I took the first matatu and we ventured out past the part of Kampala I had already seen, into an even busier and a more commercial part. Also a little more upscale, with actual cement sidewalks, though it was still a bit muddy from the rain the night before. The conductor told me that this was where I get out, so I got out, along with everyone else. Now what. I started to get out a map to orient myself when a soft lilting English African voice said, “Do you know where you are going?” Well, I knew where I was going, I just had no idea how to get there.
I said I needed to get to the old taxi park and take a matatu to the embassy. And so this lovely young woman led me, taking my hand from time to time, to the old taxi park.
We got to the steps above and I looked down and this is what I saw.
Somewhere in this sea of minivans was the matatu that I needed to take. Again, my guide led me through a maze of vehicles, negotiated with the driver, and put me on the matatu. As she said, “I will show you which matatu to get on, and then I will go back and do what I came here to do.”
There is no way I would have found this matatu without her. What a blessing, and what kindness.
May I also say that, despite all appearances, these matatus do navigate through all of this. Incredible.