The Warri in which I grew up did not have this contraption they call keke napep or Marwa. It did not even have the one we call ‘okada’ (by the way, when will Igbinedion rescue that name from shame and disgrace?)
The thing that Warri had for transportation was the taxi cab. And if you are thinking of Uber, then sorry for you! In Warri we don’t do things like that.
The Warri taxi was old from the day of manufacture. It was usually ‘Datsun’ model if memory serves me right. New taxis in Warri were unheard of; why person go come take new ‘shasis’ moto take do taizi na? shuo! Na wa for you oh! (we will speak the Warri language soon, not today though).
The doors of the cab were attached by something that did not exist in real life. The drivers wore shirts that were either torn on one side or T-shirts that were permanently askew from too many washings, and the last wash was before the man became a taxi driver may years ago.
If you were not careful boarding or alighting from the Warri taxi, your dress, or at least some part of it, would remain in the taxi as souvenir to its cutting ability. And if any part of it touched your skin, you were guaranteed a cut that would earn you a tetanus infection in other cities. Not in Warri though. Our skins were made of tough material. In the Warri taxi, it is ‘2 for front, 4 for back.’
Although I seem to remember a time when it was different?
Then the taxis began to reduce in quantity and it was difficult to get around; especially if you had to go to the market. But in Warri, everything is an opportunity. Some smart guy came up with the idea of pick vans as passenger transport vehicles.
The route I recall was the one to Igbudu market. The pickups were as old and rickety as the taxi cabs, or older? The back was lined with a few benches and the people-usually women-would sit like they would in church waiting for a sermon, smelly body against smelly body.
Some passengers would face forward and others would face the place they were coming from; noisy, smelly, shaky, but it was a means of transportation.
It would shake its occupants all over the place at its own pace which was often at the whim of the driver.
At every bus stop, you would hear, “dropping dey, oh.” Until everyone got to wherever they wanted to go. Then they would rescue their limbs and waists from the cramped space and find their way home.
I don’t recall ever entering any of those things myself; but I trekked. In my Warri, trekking was often a means of transport and it was no big deal.
We shall talk about trekking another day…make una manage dis one first.