May 13, 2011, 4:07 PM
Fatima Jallow was staring out of space, seeing yet not seeing. An onlooker might think that she was in a fix, staring into nothingness. She was so engrossed in her own world that she couldn’t hear the conductor demand for her fare. When he tapped her on the shoulder, she nearly jumped out of her seat and opened her eyes trice their size. The conductor couldn’t help but smile and reveal his yellowing teeth. One of his front teeth was missing and it formed a big gap. He kept admiring
“Driver dang nyu buga reye hana?!” screamed a big woman with a child on her lap. Her head-tie had gone out of place to reveal a weave she had on.
“Yoni jama soriwut, wolaye,” said another.
“Danga stone tedut, waye dinga hamneh nyola gena stone,” this was coming from a thin, tall man with dirty dread-locks hanging down his shoulder.
“Hamga man nyata att mangi Jollof munu ma tuki, teh suma morom yi yep tekhi neng?!” This seemed obviously rehearsed, thought
“Du driver bi moma buga overtake,” said the driver.
“Waye lolu tahut nga buga nyo send to an early grave,”
The conductor only kept gaping at her, he seemed to like the way her lips pronounced every word. His Adam’s apple bobbed up and down as if swallowing each letter of the words she said, and he had a sheepish grin on his face.
An old woman sitting at the back with a turquoise veil draped around her kept monotously repeating “Allahu Akbar,” the prayer beads in her hand making a “Chis chis” sound as she counted her prayer.
“Maye wah tamit, muss bu stupid bi muye pass suma kanam, du lolu motahit ma gena brake sah,” the driver hissed under his breathe and muttered a curse between gritted teeth after saying this.
“That’s no excuse driver,”
“Meye ma fi yow apprentice yak sa driver bu stupid bi,” another young lady demanded.
The conductor beat the van with all his might to signal the driver to pull over so that the passenger could alight. The driver hit the brakes non-too gently and the conductor practically jumped off the car while the van skidded to a halt.
“Du li laye waye!” the young lady said.
“Wachal, ah, ninga stupid, you too,” the driver retaliated. The woman after getting off the van replied with torrents of insults as the van sped by. Minutes later, the van stopped at its destination and everybody got off.
“Hey, sa fare bi,”
As she sauntered on hurriedly, she could feel the conductor’s eyes on her back and the other conductors hanging by, waiting for the next trip, gave her suggestive whistles and sneers. And all she could do was pretend as if she didn’t hear them and wish that she were plain and unnoticeable