Unless you've driven behind one, been in one, or watched as they were being loaded, there is no real way to understand or explain the nature of the matatu. In Kenya, they are as common as well, matatus. Everyone has a story of their own about them. Stories of being almost killed by one, being crammed into one, or trying to get OUT of one!
As you can see, all kinds of things are carried in, on top of, or tied to these vehicles. So, that being said, it should not be too hard to 'see' our story.
After nine days away from home, Jon and I were lurching along in our vehicle towards home. As we crossed a long and very lonely stretch of road, we noticed a huge pile of debris on the side of the road.
As we slowed down we could see what had happened. A matutu, on its way back from sikoni (market) had hit a pothole pretty hard and lost some of its load!
We stopped and looked all over for people, but there were none, so we decided to pick it all up and carry it home. We made plans to call someone we knew from this area to see if they knew about the loss.
It was a lot of stuff! We felt pretty badly as we thought of the owner of the huge kikapu (bag) full of tea leaves, maize meal, a little cloth for a child and some bead work. There was a whole bale of store bought maize meal, a real luxury for someone, cabbages, and bags and bags of food.
So, we got home late Saturday night, told our watchman what happened and showed him what we found. Okay, so, he wasn't particularly helpful. With comments like, "Oh, these things are very maasai." and "These things are for people from far away." We knew that!
So, Sunday we left it alone, but noticed the bags that were full of maize meal smelled pretty badly. By late Monday afternoon, that pile of maize meal and jettisoned luggage stunk like no body's business!
Jon came home from work, and we decided to just look in the big kikapu. Well, we didn't find treasure or riches beyond compare. We pulled out a writhing gunea bag! Jon opened it in the yard and nearly gagged. It was full of meat! Okay, so the huge number of flies had not gone unnoticed by me that day, but we do live in maasai land after all.
So, Jon decided to haul to bag out to the bush to leave it, but when he did, he dumped out. It was full not of meat, but animal guts, liver and yep, a heart!
So now we have our own matatu story. Are we missionaries yet?
If we don't find the owners in a few more days, we will give out the maize meal to the many, many needy people who come to our gate. To quote our maasai friend, "This happens all the time, it was good you picked it up, now you can help people more with it."