Retired but not tired Matatus
Have you ever wondered where matatus go once they are retired from long distance routes?
You see matatus are like human beings after seeing better days, they become diabetic, asmatic and faint in the middle of the road.
I have even seen matatus which move around with bended backs, poor eyesight especially when it is most or dark and they use walking sticks.
This is not how it is always supposed to be. We can have better and well maintained PSV vehicles in Kenya.
We do not have to bear with vehicles which can endanger our lives.
This reminds me of December 2014 when I was working as a translator for an Italian doctorate student who was conducting her research on financial sector deepening in Nyamusi area of Nyamira County.
We always used matatus to and fro the field. This particular day our matatus boiled and vomitted hotwater and since we were seated next to the driver we noted some strange smoke emanating from our seats. It was on fire.
We quickly alighted to pave way for the driver and his conductor to offer first aid.
Later on my boss, a beautiful Italian doctorate student, told me she had feared for her life considering that she had also noted that the matatus had no speedometer and fuel gauge.
It was strange that most of the transport operators – drivers, touts and motorcycle riders thought that I was very lucky to have a white woman as a “wife.” They would inquired in Ekegusii language.
“Where did you get a white woman for a wife?” they always enquired.
I would just smile and move on. When I told her what they were saying later on, she did not find it strange.
“This is not the first time I have heard that, in fact in South Africa one man I have never seen before offered to marry me,” shed told me.
Welcome to Africa. Land of possibilities. It is funny that I did not see anything strange.
Having old matatus whose dashboards are out of service is normalicy. If i was a journalist, I would say that there is no news.
In fact, when you drive a vehicle with a dead dashboard, you become a master. You automatically know the speed and amount of fuel remaining without reading any meters – speedometer or odometer.
We have now entered a mulky territory. We are about to claim that the driver and the old vehicle become a union. They understand each other perfectly well.