March 13, 2019
I had an appointment this morning to apply for the new digital driving license. I had been procrastinating. I finally shrugged off the procrastination gods two weeks ago, logged into my NTSA Tims account and booked an appointment online. I thought it was something I could do quickly, but all the slots for that week plus the next week were all taken. I was left with Wednesday of the following week, today.
I knew there would be more than 100 applications for the day so I had to get myself out of bed earlier than usual to pray, brush, take a shower and leave for the NTSA main offices in Upperhill without taking breakfast. Nothing stresses me more than going for an appointment to a government office because the queues in those offices seem to have no end point any time any day. My friend, who was going to work, volunteered to take me and his kid brother who was also applying, and we left the neighbourhood at around 6:40 a.m.
As expected and predicted by both my friend and me, we met with a gridlock at the Bunyala Road- Uhuru Highway roundabout. I don’t know what all these roundabouts in Nairobi are for. They cause 90 percent of traffic gridlocks in Nairobi and are next to useless. We were stuck in the traffic for more than 40 minutes, but managed to reach the NTSA offices at exactly 7:52 a.m. before the offices opened. The queue was so long that some people were right at the main gate. We joined the queue and after less than five minutes, a tall guy with a neat suit and attractive tie came and instructed us to walk behind him while still staying in the exact order of the queue.
We stopped after the first person reached near the main entrance of the offices. The guy then started asking where each person was seeking service. I was relieved when the queue was divided into five other sub-queues. One of the queues was for logbooks collection, the other was driver’s license collection and well, the other two, I do not know. Ours consisted of about 16 people because it was early, and still, I was third from last. The suit guy came to our queue and started checking the documents we were carrying. To my relief (again, ha! See how lucky I am sometimes!) most people in the queue didn’t print the booking receipt. This was because the booking receipt was not necessary until a few days before. He told them it was made necessary because of time management. He advised them to rush to the nearest cyber and print it.
I had printed mine, so I leaped from the tail of the queue to number four and we were immediately ushered in. We took a narrow staircase to the second floor (or was it third?) of the building where three workers, a lady and two gentlemen, were seated behind small dell desktops. I asked myself why the government couldn’t afford bigger and flashier computers. I shrugged: well, because a government is a government and Kenyan government is Kenyan government. There is nothing you can do to a government. Hell, there is nothing you can do the government of Kenya.
The lady told the two guys to start the business of the day, but they didn’t respond to her. This left her alone to serve us. The three guys ahead of me were quickly served one at a time and sent to another room for photos and fingerprints. When my turn came, I sat opposite her, gave my booking receipt, and helped her enter my account details. I paid the $30.05 fees and left for the next room where another lady took my passport photo and fingerprint. I left the office and waited for my friend’s kid brother who was right behind me in the queue. He joined me in less than 10 minutes, and we left. It all went pretty quick.
It was around 10:50 a.m. when we got back to the hood, and we went to get a late breakfast. We went to a new restaurant that is quickly turning into my favourite and ate chapati with spesso goat meat. My friend’s kid bro ordered cow milk tea. I quit drinking tea 25 days ago, after years of drinking five or six cup a day. I ordered juice which I was told was not available. I took water and consoled myself that on the way home, I’d pass another restaurant and get myself a date shake. We left the restaurant and bid each other bye. I passed the other restaurant, took a date shake made with camel milk and headed home to take a long nap till the dhuhur prayer. I later woke up at 12:50 p.m., drunk the date shake, prayed and went back to sleep till round 3:20 p.m.
I wasted the rest of the afternoon browsing the internet and flipping between boring channels. I later went out, and met with some friends for a few chitchats. At dinner time, I went to another restaurant where I was served with a thin melon juice with a lot of sugar after the main dish. I drank it with disappointment. I missed tea. Later I went home and watched two episodes of a series whose name I won’t admit, and went to bed after a few hours of swimming lazily in the ever-interesting and satisfying world-wide web.