Molué Haters

Prompt:

Feb 4

Ch-Ch-Ch-Change

You need to make a major change in your life. Do you make it all at once, cold turkey style, or incrementally.


I have lived the two sides of a coin. I have been the tail and then the head and because of this, I can tell you that change (coin pun highly intended) is hard to make at both sides. Living on both sides of the coin, you get to see life as rich people do and as poor people do, and I repeat, making change on both sides is not easy. I’ll explain….

I started my job hustle as a conductor when I was only 10 years old. I always wanted to be a conductor so I guess the universe just conspired to grant me my wish. I remember my mom and I entering Molué on Sundays when we’d go to church, I would look at the conductor in awe because to me, he was the smartest person ever.

Now, for those who do not know, a Molué is basically a bunch of scraps of metals painted yellow (or sometimes, formerly white) built to create a really large, long and crooked bus. It is not a safe means of transportation, but it does its job of mass transit. It has been known to have murdered quite a number of people but really, in its days, that didn’t outweigh its benefit of mass CHEAP transit.

Now, for those who only saw a Molué from afar and never really got to get into one, inside a Molué is a circus fare. To survive in a Molué, you must not have a sensitive nose or skin; you cannot select choice of words you like to hear just as you cannot enjoy ‘your space’. You cannot stare too long (as you might just be staring at someone who’s mentally unbalanced and he’ll escalate your innocent stare) or be too detached (as you might miss some awesome drama). That’s how to survive in a Molué. To thrive in a Molué, however, you’d have to know how to sell something called ‘Gbogbonise’. Gbogbonise is basically the compound name for any herbal medicine with compound purposes. Hey, but that’s story for another day. (N.B. Molués have been banned from Lagos roads now!)

Like I earlier said, the conductor in the Molué used to fascinate me a lot because he’d go from the beginning to the end of the bus and collect his fare without making one mistake. He knew those he had collected his fare from (people sitting, lapping, squatting, standing, and even floating). He knew those who he owed change and the exact amount! He’d collect fares to the end of the bus and then return and pay everyone their change. You might not appreciate how extremely special that is if you have never actually been inside a Molué. When we got to church, while the sunday school teacher asked us to pray to God to make us good children like Samuel, I’d pray for a higher calling; to be as wise as a conductor, and if the wisdom came with the job, then to be a conductor. 

After my mom died in a terrible Okada (motorcycle) accident, I went and lived with her never-forever-to-do-well younger brother who told me I had to contribute to the commonwealth (the word is being used loosely here) of the family. Never had I experienced poverty so strong, yet so tolerated, in my life. Anyway, I dropped out of school (duh), and became a conductor. I was happy at first because I reckoned that God was a prayer answering God. But soon enough, it hit me that the driving force to remembering to collect all your fares and return every change was not wisdom, but was the fear of getting beat up black and blue by the bus driver or some crazy-ass passenger. 

I remember that the biggest change I had to make back then in 2001, was a change of 450naira. The bus fare was 50 naira and this man had given me N500 in the year N500 just came out. I remember staring from the note to the man until I realised that I was staring too much. I begged and pleaded with everyone to bring out their N50 and walked from person to person saying ‘God bless you’ as they gave me their N50 note. So I guess for this particular change, I could say that I made it incrementally – I absolutely couldn’t have made it all at once. 

Fast forward to right now, 2016… there is so much that can go right in a man’s life within 15 years. Let’s just say that someone (for whom I can sign an affidavit saying he’s an angel), picked me up and saw me through school. I never told him, but I picked mechanical engineering because I thought I could never amount to anything higher than a mechanic (*covers face*) 

Anyway, I got interested in other forms of engineering and got really obsessed with putting components together to build whatever. I have built too many useless devices in my lifetime (enumeration for another day). 

But my breakthrough came when I built the popular device known to every Nigerian as ‘Molué’ (I know, I know, I’m a sentimental fool). As you all know, the device which has been adopted by almost all states of the federation (*side eye to Adamawa, Edo, Osun, and company) is the most unique and seamless change solution in the world.

For those who do not know, here’s how it works: You enter a bus but you don’t have the exact change? Pay anyway. Your details will be entered on our portable device and a love shaped paper (yes, that where all those papers you see come from) would be printed containing the details of your change situation. Immediately it is printed, every bus driver would be notified of your change and your identification number. So, the next time you have to enter a bus, you can pay with your  love-shaped paper… literally showing love t the conductors. *wide grin*

Of course, there are a lot of modalities, like how the primary bus driver has to remit these excess monies to the bank, how the State Inland Revenue Services have keyed in on this to collect Personal Income taxes, how we have to detect fraud on both sides, how to educate these drivers and conductors on the use and maintenance of the device, how we recycle these papers, network and notification failures and so on. But I must say that it is so much fun. Let me tell you, hard work is easier when there’s money. And my people, there’s a lot of money right now. God really answers prayers, because not only did I use the wisdom of  a conductor (whatever deep definition you want to give to ‘conductor’) but also, I am STILL a conductor in the normal sense of it. 

Making change is my business and it’s good business. Some bloggers have written extensively about the company’s tagline which is; ‘…making change with love’. They have said that realistically, I’m not making change, I’m simply ‘redistributing the commuter’s fare in a conniving disguise to conspiratorially allot more credence and power to the state’,  some outrightly say I’m the anti-christ. I’m not fully in touch with English language so I don’t really understand what they are saying but here’s something for them bloggers and molué.com haters: I am happy you’re blogging about me. I could have been just a random street urchin and grown to be a threat to the society, and no one would have known about me. But there came a major change in my life, and although it did not happen all at once, it started with someone seeing the good in me and sponsoring my education – if you bloggers think you know best, then help to formally educate someone like me and propel the start of a major change in their life too!

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