Home Maryanne's Tales My Random Experiences Nairobi traffic, Nairobi’s ladies, matatu drivers….I’m missing you all….

Nairobi traffic, Nairobi’s ladies, matatu drivers….I’m missing you all….


For the last 9 weeks I have not had much of a life outside of the house. I have been indoors bonding with Kitty, and it is only in the last week or so that I have been thinking about how I miss the familiarity of some things. Take note that I miss the familiarity of these things, and not that I miss them at all.

Top on the list are the following:

Do you know that I miss the Nairobi traffic cops? Yap, I miss seeing traffic cops and shaking my head in wonderment wondering whether they really ease the flow of traffic or make it worse. Why does it always seem that when the lights are working the traffic flow is slightly better as opposed to when the boys in blue are in command?

By the way, why do most traffic cops always have their cardigans on even in the sweltering heat? And it’s not like while wearing them they are sitting down under a tree. Nooo, they’re usually raising their arms up and down controlling traffic and occasionally running after the mischievous driver, all of which is physical activity and which I’m sure causes them to sweat. It really baffles me to see such an officer with a cardigan on, because I only imagine how hot and uncomfortable he must be. Not forgetting that they usually have their caps on, which no doubt makes them sweat all the more. But then again I am not a traffic cop so I cannot speculate much on that.

Since we’re talking police matters, I have always wondered one thing. I have never once in my life seen a pregnant policewoman. Not even one! Yet I know of very many people who are the sons and daughters of policewomen. Now, I keep asking myself where the pregnant police women are. And if they are there, do their uniforms – their trousers and shirts – come in mothercare design? Just wondering. Someone please help me understand this because it is something that continues to perplex me.

Back to the missings, I miss wondering why we Kenyans in matatu’s always stare down at people in private vehicles. After they finish sizing you up and down and determining your worth judging by the model and registration number of your car, they then begin stretching their necks trying to peep into every corner of your car – I don’t know hoping to see what. Even though most passengers are usually idle especially when in traffic, wouldn’t it be more constructive to read a book or a newspaper or something? Or maybe they can read their favorite blog during those moments *wink wink*.

And then, this will sound weird, but I do actually miss the craziness of a majority of matatu drivers. I mean, those people are special, and it is because of them that I always console myself that I am sane. The wayward thinking of many a matatu driver simply amazes me. Before I started driving, I used to hear stories of private car owners who would step out of their vehicles and shoot matatu drivers at point blank range. If my memory serves me right, there is one famed Kenyan professor who once did this. Other drivers carry whips (nyahunyos) under their seats and give matatu drivers a good whooping with them. I used to wonder what kind of rogue characters these are who perhaps had anger management issues. But nowadays, I happen to fall in the category of these rogue characters. Many are the times I have wished I had a nyahunyo with me where I would whip the madness out of some matatu drivers. But this is not to say that this madness is confined to matatu drivers. There are lots of drivers of personal cars who are just as crazy, but what I mean is that crazy matatu drivers outnumber, by a very significant margin crazy personal car drivers. These matatu drivers are in a league of their own.

(In totally unrelated news, matatu drivers have made me think of safari rally, so allow me to digress a little bit. I give a big kudos to news presenter Pauline Shegu-Mwanzia of KBC for participating in this year’s safari rally, and actually completing it to emerge among the top ten. Hongera dada!).

Moving on, I miss walking in Nairobi streets and observing we Nairobi ladies. Especially the Nairobi girls who dress against the weather – wearing skimpy little clothes when the weather is cold. They’d rather ‘freeze but shine’, they say. I wonder if this July will be the same as all others where their clothing codes will defy the weather.

Then I miss the color of their clothes, particularly yellow ones. Ever noticed that there is this distinct yellow colored outfits that are sold in Nairobi’s exhibition stalls? Yellow comes in different shades, but there is this particular yellow that is loved by the exhibition stall stockists. And these ladies just love matching their outfits – they wear a yellow blouse, a black figure belt, black pencil pants, yellow heels, a yellow hairband and a black handbag. The complete uniform! I don’t know whether this is part of the deal, but have you ever noticed that most of the ladies who dress like this are always chewing gum? And then they walk in groups strolling around town, as though they are in no hurry to go anywhere and are just perambulating idly.

Then there is another category of women – older women dressing as though they are in their teens competing with their daughters and nieces. Tight pants that can barely accommodate their over-bulged behinds and tops that hardly contain their falling potbellies. More often than not, such women always have a scaring amount of make up on them that is wrongly applied. I’m not a beauty expert but atleast I know when makeup looks bad.

Anyway, those are some of the things that I have been missing. Their familiarity that is. But all in all I love Nairobi and the little things that make it special. I wouldn’t want to be in any other town.



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Maryanne W. Waweru is a Kenyan mum raising her two sons in Nairobi. A journalist, Maryanne is passionate about telling stories and hopes that through her writing, her readers learn something new, feel encouraged, inspired, and appreciative of what they have in their lives. Maryanne's writing focuses on motherhood, women and lifestyle. "Telling stories is the only thing I know how to do," she says.


  1. I just thought i would mention how yesterday i tookm a matatu from Tile & Carpet centre (I need to mention how their sale this year is pathetic coz i went there with 5k and walked out with me… me… the shopaholic) so, i took a mat, those loud ones with music and u know what… i enjoyed myself so much.. i was actually singing along… out loud BTW… like ‘hold me hold me so tight babie’ kind of singing OUT LOUD…. unlike you, i am not confined in the house but i think in my own way i am confined… we need to live more id say… we must take a matatu drive together aki sometime when u get back into shape…

  2. i like mats i practically leave my car at home so that i can wait for a “nganya” to get me into town.i like the madness because in my world everything is ordered and sometimes i need to fell alive again.i hate having to sit in traffic and having to meander my way around town and competing with the same matutu nutters.i have seen a pregnant cop but on desk duty not a sight to be hold. imagine a pregnant civilian woman with nasty mood swings now imagine a cop!!!!take your time nothing changes in nairobi…….


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