If you are traveling by public transport in Kenya, the most considerate thing you should eat is maize. I am talking about either boiled maize (a.k.a Mtungo) or roasted maize (mahindi choma).
This moment of enlightenment came upon me as I was traveling today. I took the back seat on the driver’s side because I’m a Windows person. I love my space and there is nothing that screams personal space more than a person looking out the window in a six hour drive. You leave them to their demons and stare in awe at their silence.
So, why should you eat maize while using public transport, I will give you two reasons:
1. It’s cheap. You get your maize for twenty shillings only.
2. It is the ultimate jaw workout.
But, if you have eaten a whole maize cob then you are probably rolling your eyes like ‘been there done that,’ but have you ever been the other passenger? The one who has to sit beside noisemakers and hunger pang arousers ?
Case in point, chicken and chips! And let’s face it this happens a lot in Nairobi, and somehow anyone who travels with these buses and vans finds themselves queueing up to get a meager serving of fatty chips at a hundred shillings or more. It’s like let’s all eat chips and you roll up the windows and fill the vehicle with the aroma of not too delicious chips!
These are the ones that arouse those hunger pangs. Add some chicken and you’re done for. (P. S: It got worse for me when I boarded a bus from CBD only to see the seats plastered with Chicken Inn Combo Offer : two piecer chicken, large chips and a bottle of Coke, ei yawa!)
The other hunger pang arouser for me is Vanilla Yoghurt. Listen, I do not have any issues with Yoghurt it’s just that the vanilla essence could make your tummy rumble for hours when you are hungry, and it’s happened to me not once but thrice.
So, can we go back to the maize? Yes, as I was saying, maize is the chilled out version of snacking. If the person seated next to you wants some you can always snap a bit of it and share. No one thinks of germs when eating maize.
Besides, it would also make you appreciate your thirst because after you are done eating that maize the kind of things your throat and mouth would be asking for aren’t much, just plain water. Unlike chips that has to go with salt, ketchup or chilli sauce and is so germ prone to people that I have seen them queue to get a toothpick for eating.
And the last reason I have for why you should eat maize, is because it is not a noisemaker. It’s not like soda that will “fffff” when you twist the cap telling everyone that you are drinking it, or elicit a burp.
It’s not like crisps that will automatically make people turn to stare at you because you are seriously crunching on them.
Maize is chilled.
It doesn’t cost you much and it definitely does not make you the center of attention (well, unless you are in a matatu going to Uplands or something ☺)
End of rant!