INSIGHT FROM A BODA BODA RIDER


Sometimes all it takes is a little key to unlock the potential of your mind.

The rainy season has yet again knocked on our doors. Praise heavens.

It’s during such seasons that my grandfather would wrap himself in his favourite coat, you know the one that probably saw the mixture of soap and water in a basin after many moons? Yes, that one. He would then get his godfather hat and sit by the door with his radio by his ears deeply in thoughts while watching the rain pours (perhaps he saw the future.)

I heard my dad the other day say, that if it rains long enough to allow the successful planting and harvesting of maize in the village for two consecutive seasons then maybe maize flour would no longer seem like such a luxury. Such comments make me wish I was in the village awaiting the season of soft, milky and tasty roasted maize but here I am, living life in a beautiful city or at least partially beautiful I’d imagine.ย 

Times are hard, food prices are no longer what they used to be

The bachelor’s diet of Ugali sukuma and eggs is now a luxury to most people or maybe it’s the few silvers adding up to two hundred shillings on my wooden table that suggests the same. How did a tray of eggs move from being two hundred and seventy to costing four hundred shillings?

Mmmh been asking my self the question too.

So I pocket my silvers and grab my glass of water to have one last sip before I set off to go buy some skuma wiki. I then glance at a shining reflection appearing from the corner of my eyes, another coin perhaps. 

As I reach out to collect, my fingers are met with nothing. Alas, it’s just candle wax remnants from the night before. The rain decided to do a number on the Kenya power lines and as we know it might be a while before am graced with light from the bulbs. Hopefully, it gets fixed soon.

As I wait for the road to clear up so I can cross and begin my three kilometres walk to the main road, a boda boda rider stops and offers me a ride. I humbly decline seeing as I barely have thirty shillings to spare. He looks at me and says, “siku hazifanani, njoo nikubwage stage.”

I smile broadly with appreciation and hop on. 

The ride is rough. From time to time, am being displaced from my sitting positing as he tries to manoeuvre around the potholes of the almost muddy road. A huge part of the potholes was filled with rainwater. We then pass by a field filled with other boda boda riders. I look closely and notice a member of parliament aspirant addressing the masses. 

“Why are you not a part of the crowd?” I inquired. He attempts to speak but then retreats for a second. 

“What can five hundred shillings buy anymore?” He answers with a question. 

There is a moment of silence.

I smile in agreement amazed by his response. 

“Isn’t it better than nothing?” 

A simple question and yet it opened a door to one of the wisest arguments I’ve probably received in a while.

” Why would I allow myself to be persuaded by five hundred shillings and promises that seem too good to be true. We all know some of these things won’t be achieved in five years,” he uttered.

“Is that the politician campaign?”

I ask pointing towards a big banner hanging in between two electricity poles.

He simply nods in agreement.

We get to a point and I see him diverge off the road to a little path that’s slippery, wet and muddy. The remaining bit of the road was under construction hence the diversion. Somewhere in between the path, there is a small drainage system filled with stones to create a path passable by boda boda riders. Steadily and carefully he employs his skills across the path as the rider from the opposite direction allows him to pass and pave way for him. 

“Waiona hii barabara, for two terms walisema watatengeza, mpaka sasa twangoja” He initiated a conversation. 

He went on to tell me that the one-kilometre cabro that was available had been created five years back. 

“What about the construction going on?” I inquired.

“That’s just an additional five hundred meters, huyu muhindi wa warehouse ndo ameamua kujiwekea,”

He went on to talk about how politics has become a way out of poverty for most leaders. And perhaps he was right. 

How often do we choose to put people in power just because they’re being there favours us and not the whole group?

How often are we bribed by little things and empty promises?

The election period is here and the ballot boxes are filled with different faces. Deep down you know what change looks like, you know the difference you want, perhaps like this rider and I, you are rooting for better infrastructure in the areas around your home, maybe you wanna be able to sit down and enjoy a decent meal of chapati and meat without worrying about how pocket draining oil prices are or maybe you are a campaigner of better and closer healthcare. 

Deep down we know who can bring us to change, not because they are our friends or relatives or tribesmen but because they are channels for change. 

We know who has our best interest at heart. We know who shares our ideologies and those who vividly relate to being in your shoes.

The aspect of choice is not to be persuaded by a few coins that will wipe today’s tears and frustrations without the thoughts of tomorrow’s in mind. 

A great leader is not one with the most expensive pairs of suits and cars but one with the will to bring positive change.

 Why don’t you exercise your right to vote? Make a wise choice. The future of tomorrow is now and it rests highly on your hands.


6 responses to “INSIGHT FROM A BODA BODA RIDER”

  1. This piece reflect to the chains that wehv been enslaved to as a country at the moment, good writing, I love the words… Keep it up

  2. This piece reflect to the chains that wehv been enslaved to as a country at the moment, good writing, I love the words… Keep it up

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