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For miraa drivers, driving at breakneck speed ensures punctuality and quality

OPINION
By Peter Kimani | May 28th 2021
Men at Gaciongo Miraa Market in Maua, Meru County on November 25, 2018 load a Pickup that ferries miraa from Meru to Mandera County. [Darlington Manyara, Standard]

It was very insightful hearing miraa drivers on a local TV show narrate what one might call the underpinning philosophy of getting khat to the market.

One driver, with a mound in his mouth, explained why they drive as they do: they tend to keep their word, he said, and they will do anything to keep it.

So if they encounter choking traffic on the road, they will ride through a bush, if necessary, just to retain their supersonic speed. The munching driver’s colleague, who said he initially chickened out of the miraa work on his first trip, but later steeled his resolve and stayed the course, had a more fascinating explanation for high-speed driving. He said miraa is perishable so the cool air that’s gathered from the vehicle’s momentum helps retain the freshness of the twigs.

 Put another way, it’s a combination of things that spur them to action: punctuality is key, as is the duty of care to harness the wind as an aerial fridge. Who would articulate such complex ideas connecting motor engineering and refrigeration? Some folks got it, and it’s got nothing to do with miraa, which scientists claim triggers hallucination, among other side effects.

 

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