Ever traveled in an old train in a Third world country? If no, then here is your chance to experience it through me.
We had gone for the Music Festivals at the provincial level and qualified for the National levels. Everyone in our dance group including our teachers were so excited to be the first Dance group qualifying for National levels in the History of our Primary school. The Nationals were to be held at the country’s Capital City;Nairobi. To us that was like traveling to the modern day USA and we could not wait. Nairobi was a whole new world with so many things to see especially tall buildings.
Sleepless nights were the order of the day for me for the entire period while we waited for the D-day. How could I? Being the first child of the family travelling to Nairobi was unbelievable.
Fast forward, the big day came. All preparations were done and off we went to the Railway station. Aaawww…… it felt like travelling to the airport to board a plane. We were treated like VIPs in our school and we knew we were going to have the trip of our lives. On arrival at the Train station, we found a multitude of students waiting in line, each with their school uniforms on(For us we were clad in civilian).
First shock on us, no one recognized us or even cared about what we were doing there after such a great sendoff from our school. Our chaperones handed over our papers to the train officers and we were cleared to get on board. Once you made it through the door, you were good to go and all you had to do was just figure out where to sit since all seats were filled up. Some of my schoolmates found seats and some of us had to resort to standing for most of the 12 hours ride from Kisumu to Nairobi. If at some point you got tired of standing, you could squeeze yourself on the edge of the train seats which were even more uncomfortable. We were literally bundled in the train like cargo.
Towards midnight, the commotion in the train died down as people slept off one after another. My feet were killing me and I was so sleepy that i decided to spread a shawl my mum had given me on the floor and join other students who were already on the floor sleeping. With my feet off the ground I was so glad that I quickly went to sleep just to be constantly woken up by people passing over me as they went to the toilet. I also got stepped on accidentally as some ‘sleepwalked’ to the toilet. The cold hard floor of and sleeping in one folded position the whole night as the bumpy ride continued was unforgettable. It felt more like being in a concentration camp with soldiers whipping your ass while you try to catch some sleep after a whole day of labour with no food .
Fortunately, morning came and I was glad to be alive after such a terrible night. But most importantly, I remembered I was travelling to Nairobi and the sad night did not matter anymore. Some students we were sharing the floor with were still sleeping while others were up. I got up just to realize that my clothes were all wet. I knew for a fact that I had a pretty good control of my bladder even during sleep as I had over eleven years of proof. Confused and angry, I started asking around for whoever was responsible for the urination:) as I woke everybody up. Of course no one volunteered to claim the criminal act, but it was later established that the students who had been lucky enough to get seats ‘The Haves’ were too scared of getting up from their seats for fear of losing them to us the ‘Have Nots’.
Consequently, they held on to their bladders hoping to find relief in the morning and ended up relieving themselves on us when it became too much to handle. I mean, its not like there were human beings sleeping on the floor! All they saw were pigs that were to appreciate the different flavors of piss showered on us.
Yeah we got to Nairobi alright, but the train had been turned to a Pee-Ville. I left my town for Nairobi feeling like a V.I.P but arrived as a puffy eyed V.V.I.Pee! Thank you Ministry of Sports and Culture for the unforgettable experience.
Feature photo Courtesy: Keith Hajovski