A journey to Kisumu from Magina
Following last year’s guide to driving in Kenya, we thought we would invite you to join our guided trip from here to Kisumu, the ‘little city’ (according to Millicent) about 30 minutes away. Sue noted down various points of interest along the way. When you read this, you will understand why we pray each time before we drive, and thank God when we reach our destination safely.
• Tuk-tuks (licenced to carry 3 passengers)
o One with at least 12 mattresses on top
o One with a complete bed on the roof
o One packed floor to ceiling with live chickens
o Two with large water tanks on the roof
o Several with large sacks of goods on the roof
o Most with more with 3 people – we counted 7 in one of them
o Completely random! It’s a surprise if someone acts on their signal
o Matatus (minibuses) in particular stop and pull out with no indication
• Motorbikes. The law in Kenya states ‘No more than two people on one motorbike, and both must be wearing crash helmets’. We saw:
o Eight motorcyclists with helmets
o Fifty without helmets (up to the outskirts of Kisumu, where counting became impossible)
o Four with helmets carried on handlebars (ready to put on quickly if you see danger approaching!)
o Up to five people on a motorbike (one facing backwards to save space, presumably).
o Various loads, including long pieces of wood trailing behind and 6 feet of folded iron sheets carried horizontally
• Overtaking and lane discipline
o On a dual carriageway, slow vehicles are at least as likely to be found in the outside lane as the inside, so overtaking is on either side (or both, simultaneously)
o Two cars driving the wrong way down the dual carriageway (to avoid a chaotic roundabout where everyone has the right of way
o On single carriageway, I had to brake at least three times to avoid a collision with a vehicle (including one police car) coming in the opposite direction
o Goats, sheep, cows and donkeys wandering around the side of the road and all over it at any time
• Police checks
o We only passed two on this journey and were not stopped (matatus, buses and lorries are the more usual targets)
o They appear to be completely ineffective at enforcing the law, but we understand they are very effective at collecting pocket money
Overall, it was a pretty average journey – nothing out of the ordinary. Doing this trip when it is pouring with rain or getting dark adds considerably to the excitement!
In fairness, we should tell you that in the past year, road markings have appeared, some (not all) speed bumps have been painted, and there are now some signposts (though not usually at major junctions)!
Thank you for your continued prayers for our safety. Report on the last few days to follow shortly.