Whenever one reads a saying pitting a fool and a wise person, No one wants to be likened to the latter. No one wants to be the fool.There is this one saying, that keeps hunting me and placing me in the defense, to proof I’m not the fool.It says that : Only a fool does the same thing twice expecting different results.: But to be honest,In more than one occasion, I have found myself doing things that had once gotten me in trouble, hoping that things will turn out differently, only to regret in the end.
When I dropped out of high school in form Two, and then, found myself in the streets before joining the matatu industry, I felt like i had lost the straggle.I watched those who competed and went to college take up jobs and build houses of their own. My parents were disappointed, and could not imagine that the son who had been doing so well in school had suddenly changed and joined the outlaws. I became a tout back then and my place was at the door of the then popular 25 seater Isuzu 3.3 diesel engine minibuses. plying Route Number 2. Dagoretti market.
After four years of playing cat and mouse with the city council askalis as a tout, I graduated to a driver and become the property of the traffic police. There was something criminal about driving matatus wheteher you are caught in the act or not. Arrests and detentions, court fines. gang fights, rioting university students and more arrests. My dad and my wife have bailed me out of stations and prisons more times than I was rushed to hospital when i was a kid.
I once told my dad that i was quitting the job and going back home to start a new life, but he couldn’t hear any of it. He is the Kiambu ones who don’t believe that a circumcised man can eat from his mothers kitchen. He told me that giving up would not solve my problems and even if i didn’t like the industry, the people there needed my skills and it was no use taking them to the village. My mother thought i would do better running a retail shop in the village, than always getting in trouble with the police As much as i didn’t like being locked up, I could not live with defeat. Not with my fathers promise that He will never let me rot in jail.
Today, ten years later, I’m glad i stayed on. Despite the many problems i have to go through every single day, My experience has changed the way people look at the industry and given me a new career. My desire to speak on behalf of my fellow workmates has opened a new window for me to develop a new career as a writer. Will I go back to being a matatu driver?
Well, I don’t want to proof that I’m not a fool by doing the same thing twice expecting different results; but, I hope to be part of the industry for a little longer. I plan to buy my own matatu in the future and see the industry from the owners point of view.
When I sit under a tree in a secluded place to have a chat with myself, I look at what man has achieved and how nature has remained faithful in providing the raw materials and i ask myself, what is life all about? I think it’s a journey of all mankind, and what we now have is the contribution of every generation that has lived on this planet; all aimed at making this world the heaven we all dream about. Kenya is a solid earth and has no expiring date, it is not too late to fix the few problems we have and focus on improving the way we conduct our businesses and how we relate with each other.
There are thousands of Kenyans who did not get the opportunity to get A or O level education and therefore have limited chances of applying for the jobs that are advertised in companies and various institutions but offer a much needed service in mobility. All we are asking from Kenyans and policy makers is to see us for what we do. There is nothing wrong with this service sector that is different from what is happening in other service sectors.
As somebody once said.”Let it be said of you that, the world is better for you having lived in it.”