My Driving Test


16.07.08 
 9pm ….Anticipation….am restless…can't confidently balance the clutch & accelerator…on hill start…sigh!
12am ….shift blanket, mutter ''why worry?"…..
17.07.08
6.30am….still dark….make my way to town
7.13am…at KNH, tout for mat 111 …Karen, ngong! Karen ngong!...can't see who he is calling though.
7.45am…at Karen Police Station, huddled next to the wall (it's cold)…am joined by a clean shaven lady…she's trembling (can't tell if it's the cold or nerves).
8.17am…Police Inspector walks in…gives a 30 minutes lecture on what he will examine..(he's kiuk… how do I know?….''I sharr not carr your name twice'', trousers don't quite make it to his ankles…displaying safari boots and white socks! – self assessment ; I've passed the tribe test J)
8.45am…..registration…am 5th on the queue…we are about 200 students being tested…all cowing to be at the end of the queue (word goes around that the examiners are very strict with the first 20 students, after these, boredom sets in…and they begin to lax… 56 would be a good number)
8.52am…mad rush round the building…incase my name is called ….reason… ''I sharr not carr your name twice''.
10.5 seconds later….nose on the door, wait… wait…wait…wait some more….still waiting….can't remember the 5 road signs…smile at the guy next to me…''please remind me what the 5 signs are''…this guy has a formula for them (waaa!)….
9.04 am …my ears alert, with only two syllables of my first name out of the inspector's mouth…I shout 'yes!'….he commands…''get in!''… Adrenalin rush, my hands and legs begin some rhythm…surely; this is not the time or place! I issue a harsh warning for both to behave! Inspector points to 5 roads signs on a chart each followed with…''hii ni nini?!... Na hii?!... Na hii?! (what is this?!..., and this?! …and this?!..)…he then picks a toy car, tells me, drive round the roundabout and park behind another vehicle (the model table – you know the drift eh) ….I drive and return to my original start point…he snorts…enda tena! (repeat!) ….i call on heaven for help…(please God…..) i embark again, and finally park behind the other vehicle! Then he says…sawa (ok)…GO!
9.12am…I push my way out, collide with a gentleman…who has been ordered to return to the driving school for another week…his error…he lifted the toy car off the model table road…''the Inspector had warned us of floating cars, they don't exist!''...he is so humiliated…sad L. With a girlish leap…am out…I breathe out…say two hallelujah's and take the bench to wait for my road test.
9.30am….meet Carol - a nurse and Stella – a recent graduate who's job hunting….we make small talk…
10am…. Exchange driving tactics…..driving experiences….review our corrupt driving instructors who constantly asked us for chai (bribes)….
10.30am….more talk….
11.30am….still waiting for the road test…the sun peeps out …am glad…my numb toes could use some warmth…
12.00noon….my back begins to hurt…3 hours on my feet…the sun is getting hotter…
12.30pm….Carol is funny (she talks with her eyes and mouth – amazing coordination)….Stella is…..proper….without them, I'd probably have fainted from boredom.
12.45pm….Inspector is finally out (3.45 hrs later! Such inefficiency!)… He bundles 4 of us into a station wagon and drives off. I pray again…(Lord….you know my ways…my thoughts are not hidden from you..NO HILL START...PLEASE...please…please). We make a turn and right there…to my disbelief…A HILL! A STEEP ONE …. (gosh Lord – didn't my prayer make it on time?)
1.03pm….no. 4 (we were referred by numbers)…..the lady takes the steering wheel, 1st start, vehicle jerks, 2nd start, vehicle jerks…3rd start, vehicle jerks…''you have failed!!! '' yells the inspector, ''get out and go back to driving school!!!''….'' no. 5 get in!"" (that's me)
1.13pm…I decide,..I will not be shaken! What can man do to me?. I take the steering wheel…pray again…and attempt to start the vehicle (scenario: am at the edge of a steep hill, there is a vehicle 20 meters in front of me, am supposed to hill start, overtake the vehicle, and park the vehicle just before the brow of the hill - am thinking all things are possible if Jesus takes the car now!).
1.14pm…vehicle starts (phew)…. I engage the gear, lower the handbrake…and the vehicle moves backward….Inspector screams…''Madam! Madam! I said forward not backward, STEP!!! On the accelerator!''...now how I released the clutch, stepped on the accelerator and overtook and sharply braked at the brow of the hill – is all an out of earth experience for me…I would best describe it as a trance.
1.18pm – I am ordered out of the vehicle…with a pass.
1.20pm…Can't quite believe I moved the vehicle…I ask no. 6 (Sanjit)…''I have passed right?''…he smiles and dispels my worst fear… (I would not be returning to driving school!).
1.21pm – 1.24pm….3 minutes brain re-organization……
1.25pm…Jubilation…I've passed! I've passed!
I've passed…! J.
2.30pm….thirsty…walk to the police canteen to buy a soda…I meet a couple of uniformed policemen playing pool, cards and watching TV (When I grow up, I want to be a police officer!)
3.30pm….finally get interim driving license.
Three thoughts;
  1. When God is all you have, He is all you need.
  2. For all its worth, the Kenyan driving test is too hyped up…do not fear!
  3. Always ask for a second chance if you go wrong the 1st time.

Read more...

Counting down the hours to my driving test



So I made goals for this year...…one being, I will learn to drive….6 months down the line, not yet…so when safaricom refund cheques set in, I think why not pay for driving lessons.
Fast forward, 13 ''interesting'' driving lessons later, I face my driving test tomorrow amid terrifying stories of how a frustrating experience it can be if I fall in the hands of a strict examiner. Tense and all – I really need a PASS.
If you've been there…you know the feeling.

Read more...

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