My father didn’t travel on the same day with us to the village, so man refused to take us home with his car.
It was a lot carrying our luggages, with foodstuffs and the gas and other things. We had our hands full, literally.
A lot of drivers wanted to take advantage of this. First was at Ama Jk in Owerri.
We stopped where the taxis were loading and mom asked them how much they would charge to take us directly to the village.
On a normal, it would cost a person N150 or N200 to get a particular junction from where a bike would then be needed. Then the bike would cost N200 if it were boarded per person.
But we also considered the season, an expensive season and we recognized that prices would be inflated.
If so, add N100 to each price. We’re adding N100 because that is usually the amount inflated on the actual prices.
We would calculate for each person with the amount. That is, 250×4=1000+100(luggage per person)=1400.
Note that this is what it might have costed to get to the junction individually but it also might have been cheaper.
Calculate then from the junction straight home. If we add N100 to each price per person, that would leave us with 350/400×4=1600.
Bikes usually did not charge extras for load but even if they did. The total amount would be N3000. Right? Right.
At Ama Jk however, the first driver hesistated to give us a price. When my mom asked him how much it’d cost to take us straight to the village bearing in mind that they’d also carry people back and that they could even carry one extra person with us, the man called to one other man who called to another one who called to another one who then blurted,
“Madam, because it’s you, with fine fine girls, pay N8,000.
My mom was taken aback. “8 what?” She asked for reconfirmation.
The same loud mouth answered, “you know that this is season and that prices are never the same in season. Bring money out. Ah ah. You can’t born this fine children and not have money.”
My mom eyed them. “Okay,” she said.
She left us to buy bread, returned and asked us to wait. Soon we were putting our bags into the boot of a mini bus, paid N100 for a person and N100 for the bags in the boot.
We got to the junction with N500.
You’d ask why we didn’t know the prices, that was because it was a long time that we were last home and then, only big buses or cabs plied that route.
After we alighted at the park by the junction, we now saw that there were also mini buses.
This is the part we say, “cooool!”
My mom set off once more. She asked the driver of the next vehicle to load how much he’d carry us home for.
He started the usual, “how many are you people? Are these your bags? Nawa o. You people are going to enjoy well o.”
Of course, we are going to enjoy. What else?🙄 Isn’t that what you people are doing?
This man, too, blurted, “pay N3000.”
“N3000? We’re not chartering the bus from here. You load your vehicle here as you normally would, when you get to the park you’d just help drop us at the compound,” my mom beseeched.
“So so so and so compound in so so so and so village.”
The driver made an O shape with his mouth and nodded in the style of a person too familiar with an environment.
“It’s about 5minutes from the park, where so so so and lives.”
“Yes.” My mom was cheerful.
“Chai. See my people o.” He gently touched my hand, touched my sister’s and touched my brother’s head in a welcome-home-sort-of-way.
“Me, I’m from this village, son of this man, husband of that one…🤦🏽♀️”
The tide of impatience washed over my mom’s face. “Well?”
“Because it’s you, my lovely people, give me N2500.”
“2500? Even when you’d carry a full bus to the park. N2500 for an extra 5minutes to the compound?”
“Yes,” my sister chirped in. “We’re your village relatives (people), cut down on the price for us.”
The man laughed hard. “See, anybody who charges you less than 2500 is either a thief or the owner of the bus. That is the standard price to the village and I even removed N500 because I know you people.”
🤦🏽♀️Liar!!!(I didn’t scream this out loud, of course.)
“Ok,” my mom was trying to reason with him. “How much per person?”
The man’s countenance changed. It was as though my mom had suddenly eaten the fruit of The Knowledge Of Good and Bad.
“Ok, madam, give me N2000. Enter bus.” It was his turn to haggle.
“No. How much per person. We’ll just use bikes from the park. It might be cheaper for us.”
“Enter for N2000 nah and you are still asking price for a person. How much do you want to pay?” He sounded irritated now.
But my mom was not listening. Her attention was with another man, a driver, who answered her questions.
It was N150 per person to the park. Maybe N200 for our load. That would be 150×4=600+200=800.
Cost of bike from the park was N50. But we calculated N100. That is, 100×4=400.
Everything would total N800+400=1200.
My mom asked the man if we can board his bus and he agreed. Immediately we entered, people didn’t want to enter the first driver’s empty bus so they joined us instead. This driver charged us N1000 to the compound and we had a pleasant conversation till we got home.
When we arrived at our compound, my mom gave him two tins of malt for him and his wife, plus four yoghurts for his four children.
It was simply a “thank you for being kind, moderate and understanding in this period where many persons are taking undue advantage of city people advantage.”