It was 4.30pm and Deloris was on Mombasa road. She needed to be on the other side of town by 7pm. How was she going to do it? She had just walked out of Capital Centre, a cab was a waste of time and money, and there were barely any matatus. Any matatu that stopped only wanted to take her a third of her journey. The clock was ticking and the traffic was piled all the way on the opposite side of Capital centre; there was no saving grace.
She walked for five minutes and found a ‘bus stop’; really it was a bunch of pedestrians standing in the middle of a road where matatus stopped to pick up passengers. Deloris looked down at her feet; she had comfortable walking boots on.
“Hmm? I could – just – it can’t be that far right?” she thought to herself.
“Is Nyayo stadium far from here?” she asked a lady in a charcoal black suit standing next to her.
“Noooo- Nyayo? Ni hapa tu! I would have walked myself just that, as you can see – I am wearing the wrong shoes to walk.”
And just like that Deloris began to walk; she walked and walked, almost knocked by cyclists riding on the pavement. There were sections were the pavement ‘evaporated’ and she needed to walk alongside long haul trucks with shipping containers. She ran past them paranoid that there wheels would crush her. 15 minutes later, she was at Nyayo stadium. But as she looked along Uhuru Highway into the Central Business District, she was not going to go anywhere if she hopped into a matatu.
Deloris looked at the city clock in the middle of the Nyayo stadium roundabout; it was 20 minutes to 6pm. She looked at her feet. Then at the traffic, then at the clock, she nodded and hopped onto the footbridge milling through defecation and garbage and landed on the other side of the road. She had cold sweats mating her back and neck. Her brow was ferociously hot and wet. Deloris whipped out a water bottle and chugged the water down. She took a deep breath and crossed another road and she was off again.
Feet comfortable, iPod blaring and head bobbing, by God, she was going to enjoy this walk whether she wanted to or not! The images of cars stuck in traffic gave her a sense of relief that she made the right choice. Her thought process was interrupted by a crunching sound. A motorist had rear ended another.
She resumed her walk, chugging as much water as she could. Eyes peering at her in traffic from cars and matatus, some stares more intense. It made her a bit curious, “Am I sweating that badly? Or – wait!”
Deloris had a blue shirt on with the print, “Too many men; such little time.” She smiled at herself when she recalled that. She walked and at exactly 6pm, 20 minutes, later she was crossing Haile Selassie Avenue into the central business district. She walked another 15 minutes and she was in a queue at her bus stop to the less traffic infested side of town. And just like that Deloris made it home in time on Thika road for her 7pm episode of a Hispanic telenovela. All that Forrest Gump inspired walking for close to 7 kms for a darn soap opera!