Here I am again, seated in one of those vessels. It’s metal all around me, but for the thin seats coated with what appears to be flexible plastic. The type used to cover matrasses for kids who bedwet.
I peer through the window, and there it is, the drama that never lacks.
A police officer is engaged in a verbal standoff with a RAV4 driver, a man of immense physical body mass, quite visible though he remains seated in his car.
The officer is using all he has – his lean body and a sweating face as a human blockade to ensure the car doesn’t move, as he motions for the driver to hand him his car documents and identification papers.
The metal vessel in which I am sandwiched between two bulky women is vibrating noisily. The only noise that filters in is the blaring horns of angry drivers.
We cannot hear the dialogue but it’s evident both the officer and driver are furious. None is willing to compromise.
Other car owners look on, some in frustration. Those in posh cars appear to be enjoying the drama, probably thanks to their cars’ air-conditioning. But not us. We are being cooked by the maddening sun which appears to be in no haste to go to sleep.
The scene is all too familiar but remains a sore to the mental and physical state of almost everyone involved. It feels like that time in primary school you had to fight the class bully, knowing fully well you will lose.
Now the RAV4 driver is making a call. Here comes the Ngola factor – connection. I call it the 8th hill of the town. It is higher than all the rest and can make craters of mountains…
I try to imagine the angry driver’s conversation as his thick dark lips bounce against each other and his vehicle trembles under him.
It should be something like ‘you don’t even know what I will do to you (hisses) … Alo! Alo!, Oui, Commisseur, … ‘
I can’t even focus on them now. If I were a piece of meat I’d have boiled already.
Well, I’m not. I’m more of a bag of bones in stingy quantities. This metal cooker is not doing bad anyway.
And finally, we move a little. The road appears to have cleared a little bit but the standoff ensues.
A second police officer continues directs cars as we go on.
I stare at my wrist watch. It’s just been five minutes but it felt like eternity. There is so much to process when you are in a big town with bigger people. We are all actors in this drama.
Fondly refered to as the city on seven hills, Cameroon’s capital, Yaounde is home to almost 3 million people (2015).
Like every other town in Cameroon, it has its own unique experiences that never leave you the same.
– Giyo Ndzi