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
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.