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Rare discipline at Chania

By - Mary Kamande | September 17th 2012

By Mary Kamande

In the seemingly perpetual hurry that Kenyans are forever engrossed in, it would not be surprising to find out that the traffic jams that often clog streets result from impatience that would not let one give way to others.

The same can be said about people’s tendency to mill around places as they jostle to pass through, sometimes causing a stampede.

But a bridge in Thika town has taught residents and visitors the virtue of patience, as at no time can it simultaneously accommodate more than one motorist.

No police

On this bridge, motorists and riders give each other space and the policy of first come first served is strictly adhered to without any policing.

 Never do the road users jostle, or hurl expletives at each other over its usage.

So orderly is the use of the bridge that before a foot bridge was constructed for pedestrians, no right-thinking pedestrian would dare use the little space bridge alongside vehicles.

Being the shorter route to leave Thika towards Murang’a  or from the Murang’a direction to the town, many a driver would be tempted to use the bridge but only small vehicles can pass through as there is a bar that lies low, thus preventing vehicles higher than the ordinary matatu from using it.

At the Chania River Bridge, motorists and riders patiently take turns and wait for their counterparts from the opposite direction who arrive at the bridge before them to make their way.

The harmonious relationship among the users of the narrow bridge could be due to the apparent danger that one is faced with if he dared defy the unwritten rule to allow one user at a time.

Never let cross

This is done to avoid plunging into the river, which a short distance from the bridge forms the picturesque Chania falls.

The care with which road users approach the bridge could then be the reason the bridge has survived years of sunshine and rain and remained sturdy.

Besides causing the users to involuntarily practice patience, a virtue that would be hard to come by in other spaces, the bridge also has historical significance as it also provides new generations with infrastructural sights dating back to the pre-independence period.

The bridge lies astride Chania River, the border of Kiambu and Murang’a.

Kenya’s first president, Jomo Kenyatta is alleged to have made the Kikuyu from Kiambu oath never to let Kenya’s presidency to go past the River Chania but it has since been overtaken by events as the current president is from Nyeri.

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