Wednesday, January 10, 2007

....the roads to '07

some of the roads had gulleys deep enough to burry a whole saloon car. in some places you had to do a balancing act especially with the rains. a little slip and you end up where all have ended. one day i just felt the rear of the car being moved sideways the car was going forward horizontaly instead of straight. and after getting the wheels on the gulleys on another day i decided to drive around with a jembe and a panga in the boot. the panga to clear the bushes growing on to the roads. you can imagine the constanation with which pple who opened the boot looked at me. i had to keep explaining myself all the time. luckily no policeman ever opened the boot so they never found those weapons of road construction. however when i decided to mend one of the gulleys, a number of pple came asking whether i am running for the '07 seat. coz why would u bother to make the roads unless u have paliamentary ambitions? indeed the non-vacant seat has attracted 10 aspirants already and locals are loving it. this time its mostly issue based. so aspirants are going over each other fencing dispensaries, paying fees, fund raising and so on. however roads are still a prob. only one aspirant has tried to do it.

but if you want a well done murram road then all you have to do is plant sugar cane. the farmers in the area have contributed to this noble cause since when mumias sugar guys come to cut the cane , they get stuck and that forces them to make the roads. areas with sugarcane plantations have 'very good' murram roads. infact some are even tarmacked. i drove on a very nice road between mayoni and nambale with very little or no traffic only cyclists.

in fact on bad stretches, the cyclists, also known as boda bodas were charging upwards of 300 /= for a 5 km ride. remember that on the hilly stretches both the passenger and the rider have to walk. so in effect you enjoy only about 3kms on the bike. but the good thing is that the boda boda guys are probably some of the best story tellers in the country and you wont realise that you actually paid him to walk by you instead of carry you! and did you hear about the bridge that was washed away? in fact many were washed away. so there was an alternative route, but the route had a formula which only the locals knew. so you paid 300 to be told how to go past it. if you didnt, then you would invariably get stuck then those locals would push or lift the car for you. you gota believe it. even an MP with a prado who thought he did not need the advice got stuck! now for the push or lift the price starts from 500 /= depending on the size of the vehicle. and here is the funny side, the pushers who had the strange luck come with the rains were obviously drinking on the job literally so that by ealy afternoon they were too drunk for the noble job!


  1. Odegle, you must have enjoyed your holiday in shagz kabisa kabisa. I think 'THING''is stronger than chang'aa and smells terrible!!
    Tell us more about 'village economy'-tree planting, brick making, village dukas, village breweries, its transport sector etc. One thing that amazes me with the mama changaa's is that they actualy dont put down on paper their biz plans, but are so successful that their children's fees is paid with the proceeds.

  2. about real hustlers, they hustle even for directions...Najihurumia kuwa mkenya

  3. Ohlanga Lover - Truth is I like your stories even more than the financial nuggets you throw out...

    Your stories do have an economic angle but they are fresh & well told...

    I hope you can get an internet connections in the shaggz coz you would have even more stories to tell!

    I like the one on the arrogant MPs in our Prados getting stuck...

  4. Odegle - You see how privatisation works wonders?

    Mumias buys sugarcane & farmers sell it so the farmer gets the roads repaired (with help from Mumias) to transport the cane!

    If Mumias was government owned... no-one would care since Mumias would not pay for the road or cane (on time). Mumias is a prompt payer thus farmers like supplying cane.

    Use this in other aspects. If the main Nbi-Msa road was PRIVATE, then the bridges would be built to resist heavy rains (except "super"-floods) since cars/lorries would pay tolls.

    No bridge = no vehicles = no profits

  5. jaks ... i sure did enjoy the hols!
    kenyaonly ... i learnt during my hols that self pity adds to the misery, just see what you can do and do it
    coldi ... am happy you love my stories. i had internet connection. i had safaricom GPRS and my laptop. in fact i logged in a couple of times but then gave up and decided to enjoy the hols first and blog later.however i wanted you to fill me on how we can use privatisation to help the school situation in the rural areas. i would love to hear your suggestions. like i said primary schools have as few as 4 teachers for 8 classes.

  6. Ironically, your school situation does have a remedy...

    One is school vouchers. If the gov't sets out a policy that we will spend 1,000/- (an example) per student per year then the parents can take the kids to ANY school of their choice that accepts the vouchers.

    Let's say the cost per year is 5,000/- so we are short 4,000/-.

    I do not know the individual situations but on a general basis, the parents can provide services e.g. a carpenter builds desks in lieu of fees.

    Likewise, their is food, building materials, etc.

    Privatisation is not a cure-all for social problems but it can help better use of funds instead of mali ya serikali.

    Socialism fails since there is no ownership so few care about what is not theirs.

    This is a complex subject but remember I was dealing with 'business' when we talked of roads, sugarcane & farmers.

    BTW, I believe in family planning. There are many arguments about why family planning is a "western" scheme to control 3rd World countries.

    I think family planning would alleviate some of these problems of too many kids, not enough teachers.

    Anyway, the topic is too complex to discuss as a comment!

  7. coldi, looks like you have a workable approach. i hope you will post it either on your blog or on the new blogsite you are currently posting. the school problems are really close to my heart. the situation is deplorable back in the rural areas. i agree about family planning but i can tell you that the problem is bigger than that and again family planning is for future. what do you do with the kids who are already born? the issue we have is inequality. i know some public schools in nairobi with more than 30 teachers while there are others at home with 5 or less. its difficult to wish it away given that these kids are expected to compete for the same national schools etc.

  8. Odegle - We will certainly look into alternatives. In our very small way we can emulate Oprah...

    Make sure you remind me of my promise to see what we can do!


Note: Only a member of this blog may post a comment.