Boda Bodas. I take them all the time. So my father remarks, “You’re always taking bodas, when will you buy a car?”, when he sees me get off a Safe Boda recently. He has a point you know; I am paying maybe UGX 3000 extra what I should be spending on normally with taxis. Which reminds me, have you ever sat on a bicycle? The “maanyi-ga-kifuba” bicycles?
It’s half the cost of a taxi ride. Wait, not half, it’s more than less than half the cost (hopefully that makes sense). I digress.
Anyway, after telling me that, he says, “…at least these Safe Boda people follow the rules and are not as unruly as the others”. Yes. This can be a good thing and a bad thing. See, when you’ve been sitting on a boda for a bit of your adult life, you get used to the chaos, the adrenaline, the madness of it.
My first ride on a Safe Boda felt like me and the rider were on parole.
He kept in the same lane as the cars, didn’t try to go on the sides, waited for the lights before crossing, was keeping the speed down to a minimum. I felt like a grandfather. This guy could have been transporting a dinosaur egg. It felt so safe that it was almost wrong.
The right/true thing had been so alien to me for so long it seemed wrong! (Much like a lot of life now…)
The problem then becomes that if you take one that is a talker, you’re in for story time. It’s not too bad though because I have learned a lot about Safe Boda from these guys. That they pay once and get a jacket and two helmets, how they are learning to get techy, how they have monthly trainings and more. It’s becoming quite a community that empowers boda riders. It’s actually a long distance from the first few who you’d see rarely. Now, they’re almost 1000 men using the service.
Which makes me ask, are there no women boda riders? Again I digress.
Bodas know how to mitigate some issues. Like that time she had broken up with me and I just wanted to get out of there. It helps that most boda guys talk, so you’re in the cold wind and the dude is telling you about NRM and Besigye, so you don’t think about it till you get home. Or that time the sickness had made me like egg and I needed to get to a hospital in a hurry. Sure, the rough road made every ache hurt more but at least I was closer to that shot of pain relief with every passing second. I could plot my life with bodas.
The question of the boda however is can we live without them? Can we learn to prepare ahead of time for things? Can we somehow not be impatient anymore? Can we learn to use buses and be just fine? I don’t know. I’m asking one side of the question seeing as bodas actually employ people and contribute to livelihood. They are a new normal. Just like it caught me off guard the way the Safe Boda rider took care on the road, could it be possible that if we were to get to a life without them, would we be okay and not suffer withdrawal?
That aside, dad, has a point but maybe not really (a conversation for another day). So, I ask, what’s your experience of the boda boda?