Today I Rode a Bike

Tuesday May 13th 2014

Today I rode a bike. A motorbike. A bodaboda. Nothing strange about that if you’re from/living in Africa. Only thing is that I am terrified silly of them. But we had gone to visit a bereaved family, and the car we used broke down on our way there. So we walked the rest of the way. Thankfully my help, Bella, offered to carry Lukundo on her back. Otherwise those logistics would have been tricky. As he is not exactly light. And neither am I the fittest.

Having managed to get there and duly condoled with the family, I didn’t see myself making it back home on foot. Even though everyone was saying it’s just five minutes away if we used this new shortcut that’s much ‘shorter’ than the route we used with the vehicle. Well, 30 minutes later and we were still walking. And they were pointing to our houses like overrrr theeere. As in sort of near the horizon- in my opinion. Which is an unfit opinion that is not used to walking long distances of late.

Then the clouds were gathering. And here I was with my son. There was a dilemma. I could walk with everyone and prove that I am strong, brave, and not troublesome. And that would perhaps earn me, what, brownie points? Or I could seriously just get a bodaboda and avoid me and LL getting rained on, plus me walking at a pace that was even more embarrassing as I huffed and puffed up the hills.

Luckily I had carried a leso (sarong, for those who are non-Swahili speakers). So we stopped a motorbike. I tied my baby to my back. Then brought him to the front and straddled the passenger seat on the bodaboda with as much grace as one can manage in that situation. I then ‘arranged’ myself on the seat, and gave the bodaboda driver strict instructions to please just go slowly. Even though it was sort of starting to drizzle. I then held onto him like my life depended on it. Well, it sort of did.

As we rode past people, I thought gosh, what if I fall, break my back, never walk again, hurt LL, and hurt the other baby inside of me. But I was like you know what? How many women have done this before? How many do it every day? So who am I and why am I special? So I held onto our driver’s jacket/back tight and somehow onto Lukundo as well. Lukundo was looking at me like ‘This is a bit different from Daddy’s car, isn’t it Mummy?’ And I’m like, ‘Yup, sometimes we experience new things in our lives, Love. Be open, yah?’

And that’s how a woman who is several months expectant, sat on a bodaboda in Londiani for the first time and held onto her child and also happily/nervously waved at (all the) people who knew her along the way.

We made it home safe and sound. As soon as we entered the compound, the rain made true its threat. It came falling like no joke. We were home safe and dry. A little shaken and also sort of energized by the adrenaline that comes from fear. But the point is, we were home. I did not prove that I can walk many kilometres. Instead, today, I rode a bike. Well, I rode on a bike. With my two kids. And I think it’s okay. What’s life without a little adventure? Tales from Londiani.

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