The yellow volkswagen buses used for transportation majorly in most cities in Nigeria are referred to as “Danfo” in local parlance. I have no idea where the name originated from but once the word “danfo” is mentioned any where in Naija, every one understands.
A ride in one of these buses reveal a combination of various characters. I took a ride in one recently and the following ensued. An elderly lady who I will call “Alhaja Trouble” had put her baggage in the boot of the danfo and told the driver that she would pay 100 naira as extra for the baggage.
Now, it is a known fact that danfo drivers in naija do not carry baggages for free. The driver told Alhaja Trouble that he would not carry her load for 100 naira as fuel had become scarce and expensive.
Alhaja Trouble told the driver that she and her friend were going on this ride, baggage inclusive. This meant she would be paying 500 naira (the ride cost 200 naira). She expected the total cost to appeal to the driver. Unfortunately, he was not impressed.
Driver: Mi ò lè gbé ërù yën ní iye yën, Alhaja (I can’t carry the baggage for that amount, Alhaja).
Alhaja Trouble: Ah,ah, a dè n bè yín. Àwa náà máà ní mótò o. Èyin lë ma kókó ní mótò ni? (I have been pleading, we also own a vehicle. Are you the first to have one?)
Driver: Ë è bá gbé mótò yín wá nígbà yën (You should have brought your vehicle then).
Alhaja Trouble: O rí ë ò pé ni (You are nuts).
Driver: Àwön ömö yín ni orí wön ò pé (It is your children that are nuts).
Trust naija, a fight is never complete without insulting the other party’s family members.
Alhaja Trouble: Màá fi ojú ë rí nkan léèní (I will deal with you today).
This is getting interesting as I wonder how Alhaja Trouble intends to deal with the driver.
Alhaja Peace (the supposed friend who is riding with Alhaja Trouble) had all the while been sitting in the bus quietly.
Alhaja Peace: Alhaja, ë fi sílè. Ó ti tó. Ë má sòrò mó (Alhaja, leave him alone. It is okay. Don’t flog the issue).
But Alhaja Trouble will have none of that. She reports the driver to another driver (I presume, the head of drivers) who tries to talk sense into both parties.
Alhaja Trouble is shouting while Driver is also cursing. The peace making driver shuts both of them up and eventually the driver decides to carry Alhaja Trouble reluctantly.
Whew!!!! I sigh. The battle is over.
Unfortunately, I have spoken too soon.
A lady with two kids, one held in her hand and another strapped to her back is trying to get into the bus.
Another driver is trying to park his bus just beside the lady and decides not to look back while reversing his vehicle. Really??? How do you reverse a vehicle looking forward?
The bus brushes the baby strapped to the back slightly and Alhaja Trouble and Alhaja Peace scream. Trust maternal instincts, we have them in abundance in naija.
The lady immediately unstraps her baby and checks her head and body for any scratches.
The driver gets down from his vehicle and Alhaja Trouble asks that he apologize to the lady. The driver does but the lady is not pacified.
She drags the driver by his shirt as he is about walking away and asks that he acknowledges what he has just done.
Driver: Sèbí mo ti ní ko má bínú. Sé ó yë kín n hug ë ko tó gbà ni? (I have apologized to you. Am I supposed to give you a hug before you accept my apology?)
I am about to burst into laughter but hold back so I don’t become the next point of discourse.
Danfo drivers and their passengers are definitely a comic relief.