Broadband Where Are You?
Commotion in the Place Proviced for Worship

Public Transportation In Kenya

You may think that the topic for this week’s blog is of no interest to you; however, let me inform you that the public transportation here in Kenya is far from boring. Let’s begin with a brief description of the vehicles used to transport human lives across this country. Imagine a regular sized family van that has the seating capacity for eight. Sounds luxurious, right? Well, imagine it crammed with seven more seats making a total of 15 tiny seats squished together in unimaginably small rows. I am 5’6” at about 50 kg or 110 lbs, and my buttocks barely fits in the seat-- so you can imagine any one bigger than I will definitely have a difficult time getting in, fitting in, and staying in a matatu. These ‘matatu’ as they are called here in Kenya are everywhere! Each one is privately owned and fighting for passengers. The drivers are at war with each other to see who can get to and from their locations the fastest. Catching a Matatu is not all that difficult; however, when they see you need a lift, immediately three or more vans will be pushing and shoving on the road fighting for your business-- often times knocking pedestrians and bicyclists along the way. (Pedestrians do NOT have the right of way in Kenya.) As an American family in East Africa with 3 small children and no vehicle of our own, I have learned that children do not get their own seats on matatus. This means that though this 8 passenger van has 15 adult passengers in it, it is not full. In fact, just this weekend, we managed to pack an astounding TEN people in just three small seats! Three of us ‘mothers’ were in the very back row each with two children (I had 3) in our laps. Andrew was forced to ride half standing as Makena and Butterfly sat on top of each other. The whole trip home, Butterfly was yelling, “I’m squiiiiished, Mommy! I’m squiiiiished!!!” I think all in all, this matatu made for 8 passengers had at least 25 passengers on it (including the driver)! Why ride these dangerous, crowded vehicles on insanely bumpy chaotic roads? Well, we don’t really have any other options. Although there are tuktuks available, they don’t travel fast enough on the highways so we opt to only take them around the town center. (Our three children LOVE riding on the small Tuktuks.) Taxis on the other hand are extremely expensive so we can’t afford them every time we need to go to town; however if we go grocery shopping, we have to pay for a taxi so that we can get our stuff home. So traveling in a matatu is our way of getting around Kenya… Have a comfy ride, will you?

comments powered by Disqus