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Wednesday, 4 May 2016

My Ordeal With A "Mama Put"

I am a 'danfo' bus driver, and naturally a very simple man who never breeds trouble nor wants trouble to come his way. You can therefore be assured that the event I am about to describe was not of my own making. 

After the presidential and gubernatorial elections' results had been announced in my state, my 'danfo' was burnt along with other people's buses. This happened when a dissatisfied mob swept the streets, causing untold damage to lives and property. I managed to escape with very little hurt. When I got home, my wife begged me never to go into commercial driving again but either find another job or remain at home with her while we make do with the proceeds from her petty trading.

I could stand this for a few days, as the "stay at home" order afforded me an opportunity to recover from the shock of realising that I was so close to death. I couldn't bear however to be fed and supported financially by my wife. Moreover, prices of goods were soaring higher daily. Thereafter, I went to my closest friend whose danfo was road worthy but who had also been served with a "stay at home" order by his wife. He lent me his danfo to use for as long as he would remain at home. 

On the day I decided to utilise my friend's offer, I had to sneak away from my house very early in the morning so that my wife would not know I had started driving again. 

I had brisk business all morning, as few buses were available for an enormous number of passengers. At twenty minutes short of one o'clock I began to feel the pinch of hunger and so decided to give my "Mama Put" customer a trial. My bus had been loaded, so I implored my passengers to be patient for five minutes only. I lied to them, however, saying that I wanted to collect something from my brother. 

The Mama Put noticed the haste I was in, and so did not mind when I jumped the queue to grab my first serving of "Ewedu" and "Amala" wrap. A wrap normally costs N30, so I ate away with reckless rapidity. Before five minutes was over I had eaten a dozen of the wraps which nevertheless was smaller than what I used to eat in recent times. I calculated that the twelve Amala wraps I had eaten would cost N360. The Ewedu would be N90 while two pieces of meat would be N100 at N50 each. So I had spent N550 in five minutes? 

With the certainty of a bank manager giving a monthly allowance to his wife, I gave my "Mama Put" a N1000 note and asked her to give me change later on. But she furiously threw the money at me, at the same time holding on to the collar of my shirt. I was dumbfounded. One thing is clear: I am a simple man by nature, who would not give into fights at all, not to talk of fighting publicly with a woman! I began to beg her to tell me calmly why she was behaving that way. Her reply was stunning: "I thought you were a man. What will I use your N1000 for? You robber, you rogue, you pot-belly, you this and  you that!" She tightened her grip on my collar, at the same time pulling at my trouser pockets. "Give me my complete money," she demanded. In fear and shame, I dug my hands into my pockets and brought out all the money I had on me N80 in twenty and ten naira notes. She beat them out of my hands. 

I tried to struggle free as I thought of my passengers in the danfo. She dragged me outside and began shouting so that everyone would hear her. According to her, I had eaten twelve leaf wraps of Amala, a total of N720.00. I had also used up N400.00 Ewedu and eaten N200 worth of meat. I therefore owed her N240.00!!

I knelt and began to beg her in the name of God that I would pay her if only she let me go and bring the money from home. My passengers, seeing me kneel down before a woman, all came out of the bus. The wicked ones among them deflated my tyres to demonstrate annoyance over my having kept them waiting for so long. Some simply looked for other vehicles, while the more sympathetic of them came over to inquire what the matter was. They helped to beg to the woman, and asked me to leave my wrist watch and hat as a surety that I would bring the remaining amount. To my great relief, she agreed to this proposal and let me go. The wrist watch, I might mention, was a gift from my late father. 

When I got home I gave my friend some money to pump up the danfo tyres and take his bus home. As for myself, I shall never go to that woman again. And for your information, I bought an electronic wrist watch yesterday for N1200! Moreover, my wife has not yet found out about the incident. 

What will be your reaction if you were to be the danfo driver? Give us your views in the comment section below. 
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Item Reviewed: My Ordeal With A "Mama Put" Rating: 5 Reviewed By: Joseph Etim