Sunday June 29 2014

What if we looked like our professions

By Stella Riunga

I use taxis every day. Obviously, because I’m not a member of the driving class. As such I am usually at the mercy of two not-always-sane characters- the taxi driver and conductor.

Recently, I was coming back from a function with two friends. The taxi we were in had a few empty seats and the conductor and driver were determined to fill them, come what may. So we were taken on an entirely unnecessary loop that lengthened our journey by several minutes, as we trawled and waited for passengers. I observed the taxi conductor with a mixture of awe and horror.

Awe, at the superhuman ability to keep banging the side of the taxi while shouting the same words over and over. Wandegeya! Wandegeya! Ntinda-Kamwokya-Wandegeya! And horror at the thought of how hard one’s palm must be after striking metal at that speed and frequency on a daily basis. I get the feeling that if a taxi conductor slapped you, it would be like having a piece of mabati slam into the side of your face. One would need facial reconstruction surgery, I’m sure.

I wonder…
So it got me thinking, how do some people end up like that? Why didn’t the conductor, for example, end up hawking odds and ends or mangoes near the Old Taxi Park? Is it to do with the genes? Is a long neck a prerequisite to selling mangoes, or does it develop from selling mangoes? (Please observe the next mango-seller you meet, those who carry baskets of mangoes on their heads). Same to the conductor situation- which came first, the hoarse irritating voice yelling Kamwokya- Ntinda -Kamwokya, or the conductor? I just don’t know.

If a child is always climbing trees, does it pre-dispose them to becoming a professional fenne-feller in future?

Which brings us to the most important question of all-- and this is based on a real--life encounter with a particular sausage-vendor at the taxi stage near my parents’ home.

Did the sausage vendor always look like his product, or was it coincidence that a man with a small face, pinched facial features and short, stocky trunk ventured into the sausage-vending business?

Food for thought!