The Media to the rescue.

11 Dec

During the interview for the post  (know Your Matatu Driver), I blamed
the MEDIA for the negative attitude that Nairobians have  towards
matatu drivers. I must admit i have been proved wrong. They (Media)
have come back in a very big way and made up for all the damage. We in the
industry will for ever remain indebted to the people who listened to
our cry and gave what was in their power to make a difference.

 The first sign of hope came the morning Ciku-kimani of Nation media,
introduced me to Mike Healy of Ghostbox Tv and his producer Madam
Annie Maria.

 The first thing the
producer told me was that, they had come to listen to my story. I asked them for the script i was to follow but she told me there was no script unless I had to write one. I was determined to tell the matatu story to the media because I knew it was the only way we could be heard.

I was wired and the camera started rolling. It was 5:15 am
when I picked the  first passenger of the day. My two new friends from
UK were on the front seat, something  they will probably remember for
a very long time. It was the morning rush hour, and
jam was starting to build up. I tried following traffic but the
passengers wouldn’t take it. There was commotion and murmuring from
the back as my customers turned on Ciku thinking she was the reason
for the change of routine. Toa hizi ma-camera utupeleke job
tunachelewa. ( take away this cameras and take us to work) one of the
passengers demanded. The others joined in. I asked the lady if it was
okay if i do it the way we normally do and she said yeah. The first trip scared the **** out of our dear
visitors, Mike tried to stay calm and hide behind the camera. i could tell The
producer was cursing the day she boarded the plane to Africa. She was
convinced we would crush any minute. Twenty
minutes later we were in the capital. She sat on the back with her
seat belt on for the return trip.

The next handle was the
public, Ciku did a lot of persuading and convincing the passengers to ignore the cameras
while I kept the curious workmates at bay.. It was quite difficult the
first 2-3 days but we gave all we could. I knew deep down that the
success of this mission depended on how long we could keep our cover.
The only incident that would have slowed the process happened the second week, the cab driver who chartered the crew missed a
turn and drove into a ditch. I was not in the car neither was Ciku but
Luckily; mike called and I arrived at the scene just as somebody was about to break the
window. A few exchange of musculity created space to transfer the
guests to another car and to a safe place. I assured them that all
would be well and the shooting continued.

I could see the project was
taking a heavy toil on my friend Ciku, shooting during the day and
translating at night sometimes til morning and then starting all over again:not to mention having to endure loud music and thrilling rides. But her determination to
get the story out was extreme and we owe this to her.

When Mike boarded the plane back to UK
3 weeks later, he told me to keep my fingers closed and hope Aljazeera
would be interested with my story. Well, i couldn’t drive with my
fingers closed, I prayed instead.


Posted by on December 11, 2011 in Matatu matters



16 responses to “The Media to the rescue.

  1. Jose

    December 11, 2011 at 10:30 am

    They say people with a sense of humor are more intelligent then those without. You obviously show signs of plenty of stock of both ingredients.

    Just received this post as I was sending you my first comment.

    Have a nice day James.

  2. Abdirahman

    December 11, 2011 at 10:36 am

    I have watched you on aljazeera all i wanna say is keep it up you are hustler and soon or later you will make it to top…

  3. Kirk Austin

    December 12, 2011 at 4:06 am

    Dear James, greetings from an Englishman living in Bahrain. I saw your programme on Al Jazeera. Keep up the good work – I wish you every success with your writing. Kirk Austin

    • wambururu

      December 12, 2011 at 1:58 pm

      Hi Englishman, i’m glad you liked it. There is more to the man than aljazeera c
      aptured keep it here for the lest of the story. Pass the links to a few friends in Bahrain, cheers

      • Kirk Austin

        December 13, 2011 at 6:37 am

        Hi James, I have included a link to your blogsite within my own blog, so that my friends around the world will be alerted to it:
        Best Wishes, Kirk

  4. Deborah

    December 12, 2011 at 4:29 am

    Habari yako!? Watched the Aljazeera piece last evening and am now following your blog! Sending many prayers for you and your beautiful family… looking forward to reading more from you!

    • wambururu

      December 12, 2011 at 2:08 pm

      Mzuri sana, Deborah. My family is with me and they say Hi, we are happy that you wish us well. My kids will read all this comments when they are old enough and be proud of their parents. All because of you and all the people of good will. We are happy that you took time to pray for us.

  5. vizalot

    December 12, 2011 at 9:10 pm

    Awesome piece! Never thought to be grateful for matatu drivers but now I am!

    • wambururu

      December 15, 2011 at 9:05 am

      Thats the spirit, its good that my story had an impact on people’s view toward matatu drivers. Thank you for confirmation. Cheers

  6. Demis

    December 13, 2011 at 5:28 pm

    Hi James, I just watched your story on Aljazeera. Pretty impressive stuff! I just wanted to wish you good luck. Keep your head up and keep on writing buddy you’ve got what it takes to make it all the way up to the top.

  7. Professor Snape

    December 14, 2011 at 9:10 am

    I too watched your segment on Al Jazeera and was moved by your determination to remain lucid and true in such trying circumstances. Like you, I’m an aspiring writer and agree that you have potential and rich — albeit unfortunate — material. I would like to give you some helpful e-books on our chosen craft. If you’re interested, let me know so I can make it happen through Amazon and their free Kindle software.

    I have a WordPress blog for my English school in Mexico: You can find my e-mail address there under “Contáctanos”.

    Best of luck to you.

  8. Juliet

    December 14, 2011 at 1:37 pm

    You’re such a cool guy my friend. You’ve made me look at matatu drivers differently. I hope and pray that things can work out for you so that Adrian and your little girl can spend more time with our dad. Keep the dream alive!

  9. assiya

    December 17, 2011 at 6:46 pm

    Hello James,

    This is Assiya from Mozambique writing to you from California in the US. I just saw the documentary on Aljazeera and felt compelled to write to you to give all the African thumbs up in the world. I love your determination and pray that one day you will be published beyond the internet. Please don’t give up and keep going. Have a decent festive season strike or no strike.

    • wambururu

      December 18, 2011 at 9:28 am

      I have to admit that this blog has caught me by surprise and i have also learned a lot from it and the film. I thank God now that i did not ignore the little voice that kept encouraging me to write. I’m pleased to know we all want to make the world a better place for all of us. Keep me company.

  10. Franka

    December 21, 2011 at 12:46 pm

    Hi James,

    Motivated by what i saw on Al Jazeera, I have to compliment you on your determination and positive mindset. In the beginning of the year 2009 i have spend 6 wonderfull months in Nairobi. Finding my way to work by matatu almost everyday. I knew about the bad reputation and possible risks, but wanted to experince the Kenyan life as much as I could. In those six months I have to say that I felt safe most of the time driving with maybe you and your collegues. They warned me for possible danger nearby and watched out for me when I lost my way in Kariobangi. Of course the driving style is something to get used to. But knowing things work like that in Nairobi, I always got where I wanted to be, mostly in time! So thank you very much and your collegues. To me Matatu’s are a very positive memory of Nairobi! So take this with you when you go to work.
    Keep up the good work, and a warm hello from the cold Netherlands!

    • wambururu

      December 23, 2011 at 1:13 pm

      Warm greetings from kenya will most probably warm you. I’m glad you understand what I’m talking about having yourself been to Nairobi and seen the Matatu first hand. Its a shame to Nairobi residents; that you canoe all the way from Netherlands and know that we are not what we are thought to be and yet we have people here who where born and found us serving people and yet the don’t appreciate our efforts. Kariobangi is a tough neighborhood, you must be a tough soul. Let me know when you come back to the country. Thanks for your wonderful reply.


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