Back To School and Nairobi Roads Go Mad

I think the title summed it all up. Schools opened early this week after a long break. By long break I’m talking about two months. For a good eight weeks my kids were off from school and at the end of it all I’m basically broke. As a single working Mum, it’s hard for me to keep the kids entertained during such long holidays. I’m truly blessed that my parents don’t mind having the kids over during the hours I’m at work or I have no idea what I’d do.

Keeping a six year old and a ten year old is not impossible but it takes a lot of effort when there are so many other financial constraints looming over my head. From school fees to utility bills, from insurance for the car to not being a stingy Mum and taking the kids out to be entertained, I did it all. In fact these holidays I spent more money at hospitals than on anything. Throughout the holidays the kids and I were ill one after the other in a continuous cycle and I was tempted to ask at my local hospital if they had a point redemption scheme. You know… get a free kidney for seven visits with a gall stone procedure thrown in for loyalty.

Anyway, the only way is up and ahead and I’m sure the woes will get sorted out eventually. Then that brings me to the next set of woes; and these woes affect not just me but anybody on the roads of Nairobi. I’m not sure how ballistic traffic conditions get in other cities of the country when schools reopen but I know in Nairobi it’s as bad as when it rains or when President Kibaki suddenly decides to land at the airport on a rainy Friday at 4.30pm. Yes, that bad.

I have no idea at all what happens to people who are on the roads. Each one is thinking the other is an idiot and doesn’t deserve to be driving. Even with the ease of some areas of the brand new bypass opening, us lot in Nairobi are still fed up of the horrid traffic conditions. We’re like bloody donkeys running after a carrot on a stick in front of us when we keep getting told of ease in traffic conditions when nothing seems to be getting better. Every one I have spoken to this week, from family to friends and even the guy at the call centre for my bank managed to whinge about traffic at some point of conversation.

What the heck is happening really? Who is to blame? Is it the drivers? Is it the matatus? Is it the cops? First of all the congestion on the roads is ridiculous. I don’t think our wonderful country knows the merits of carpooling. Each person has their own car, most are going in the same direction from the same neighbourhood and instead of taking turns in giving each other a ride, they’re all out on the roads stuck in traffic jams created by themselves. Vicious circle.

I haven’t ventured out towards any of the bypasses as yet. Honestly speaking I don’t recognize those parts of Nairobi anymore and nothing seems to have signs or proper markings on the roads. I’ve heard of stories of cops waiting to pounce on you should you make a wrong turn at these new roads and I actually saw this for myself in Gigiri at the UN Avenue turn off. With the new filter lane you cannot turn left from the main road but because when it was newly opened and the signage hadn’t gone up and if you weren’t a resident of the area to have seen the changes being implemented you were bound to be pounced on by some mean cop waiting to destroy your life or something. You know how it is…

Anyway, I think I’ve vented enough about the road conditions. I haven’t fully developed my road rage as yet besides the impatient honking at the silly twit who has suddenly stopped in front of me near Westgate without any warning to drop off the woman who wants to shop without paying parking fees. Other than that I think I’m pretty ok… in control.

Breathe innnnnnnnnnn

Breathe ouuutttttttttttttt.

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