06 May 2011

There is a fuel crisis in Kenya. Long queues of people awaiting their turn at petrol stations have been the order of the day. A lot of time wasted, if you ask me. While the cause of this shortage has not been determined yet and even if so nothing has been done yet, people are suffering. Even those with the money have to wait long for a chance to refuel. But of course it is the majority that is suffering. Those that have to depend on public transport to get around.
I witnessed the desperation that my countrymen go through this Monday. I was caught up in traffic after five o'clock when most people leave office for their homes. The roads were jammed up despite the fuel crisis. I saw a commuter train pass by and I could not believe it! People were hanging on to anything they could hold on to. The train was so jammed and had people sitting and some standing on the roof. At the speed it was going I wondered what would happen if there was a sudden brake. This was going on even as I was wondering, do trains brake? The people on the roof seemed oblivious of the danger they were staring in the face. And what might happen when those hanging on to the train on the outside got tired and had to let go?
It has to be a real desperate situation for someone to go to such desperate lengths. Would it not make sense to have more trains running and reduce the traffic jams on the road? That way, One would be assured of getting to their destination on time. And save up on lost time. And boost the economy because people would be more productive when they got to their office less tired from sitting in traffic.
With the rains here, what the common mwananchi is prone to is pathetic. One has to get up earlier than usual so that they can spend less time in traffic. If caught up in the rush to work you could be sitting longer than you like in traffic. With nothing else to do but listen to the FM stations that hold the most obnoxious discussions in the morning. And if that's what the driver likes to listen to, that leaves you no choice.You, the customer, have no say. Customer care to public transporters? Maybe.
And it's not made any better when it's time to head back home. The traffic jams have built up and everyone seems to be rushing to get out of town. There has to be a solution to this traffic mess in the city. Just last week I witnessed a pathetic scene. I heard a siren from way off. The ambulance was evidently stuck in the jam because it took a while to catch up with us. And even then other vehicles were reluctant to llet him through. I pictured a very sick person in there, when each second counts, but unable to wade through the traffic. Maybe a life could have been saved. Makes you think you want to be careful when to get seriously sick because you just might not get to hospital. Mercy has deserted us in Kenya.
Talking of mercy, I came across this sick man in the streets. Typical Sunday afternoon and the streets are deserted except for a few people. And so he was having fits. Several people were standing around him, doing nothing. Watching him struggle to stay alive. All I could think of was to put a pen  in his mouth so he would not bite his tongue. Limited knowledge. But useful. And there was one other person who was sympathetic to him. He actually got into his pockets and found a hospital card. And he was able to address the man by name.There's a magic to calling someone by their name. Something personal. And so he was able to learn that Joseph had been on his way to Kenyatta general hospital. He called a cab and accompanied Joseph to Kenyatta. And gave his card to anyone interested for followup.
Still some good people left in Kenya. Wouldn't it be lots nicer if everyone cared for the other? Just a thought, though.
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