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Weep not motorist, you are a hero too

SUNDAY MAGAZINE
By By Tony Ngare | Oct 26th 2014 | 3 min read
By By Tony Ngare | October 26th 2014
SUNDAY MAGAZINE

Nairobi; Kenya: Early this week, we celebrated Mashujaa Day in an elaborate ceremony.

We commemorated our heroes and heroines in various fields.

But there was one category that was missing in the list of heroes and heroines — the resilient Kenyan motorist.

Let us belatedly dole out the awards to our heroes on the Kenyan road.

You are a her if you are able to run your car all year round despite biting economic realities on the ground.

The insurance premiums, maintenance costs not to mention the fuel whose price fluctuates like the mood of a scorned spouse.

The first time I heard men discuss stuff about cars, I was so young that if knew of only two types of cars: white and read ones.

The silver cars came with the era of second hand importation.

They talked about a lot of stuff but I remember one thing, buying a car is one thing and maintaining it on the road is another. This is a phrase I came to fully appreciate many years later when I became a motorist.

You are a hero if you live in one of those big cities and twice daily you have to wake up before dawn just to reach your office before traffic builds up.

Of course on a number of days each week, things do not usually work out and on your way to work, you get stuck in traffic for a duration that would be enough for you to drive to your mother’s homestead and make it for the ten o’clock tea.

You are a hero if as a motorist you are able to negotiate through all the backstreets in your town, in the wee hours after a drink or two, all in an attempt to avoid the dreaded breatherlyser.

Playing cat and mouse games with the overzealous traffic police officers backed up by an equally easily excitable officials of National Transport and Safety Authority is no mean feat when you passed by a pub.

As a Kenyan motorist, you are also a hero if every time a traffic police officer flags you down, you are able to deal with the situation. Negotiating with the boys in blue can be a Herculean task, more so if you are in a rush and the police officer is in no  hurry to give you back your driver’s licence.

If you can drive away having sorted the matter amicably is no mean achievement.

If you have adolescent children and you have managed to demystify driving in your house, you are a hero.

Reason being that you can sleep like a baby and need not  worry that your children will drive away in your car in the dead of the night to go partying.

In the 1990s, most parents had little faith in their children’s ability to handle vehicles, so we resorted to “stealing” their cars to  impress our girlfriends at parties.

Often things did not always turn out as planned.

You are also a hero if you can drive on Kenyan roads and manage to hold back your anger  when errant road users cross your path, literally.

The courage to rise above the despicable behaviour exhibited by many motorists deserves special recognition.

If you have managed to stay sane on Kenyan roads, you are a hero and deserve a medal.

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