In a Nairobi road accident 

A second goal. Barely ten minutes into the game and Chelsea are leading 2–0 against Brighton.

I’m disappointed. Wanted them to lose.

Then my phone starts ringing. I reach for it from my pocket and it’s my sister calling.

Hallo, uko wapi? Naskia Cony amegongwa pale Taj Mall! Naenda uko sai (…, where are you? I’m told Cony has been involved in an accident at Taj Mall! Going there now)!”  She started talking, actually shouting from the other end. Obviously there was a lot of noise where she was. I didn’t wait for her to finish talking or even end the call.

I was on my way, whizzing through people, you could mistake me for Usain Bolt if only I was more built. I kept bumping into people, pushing aside those who couldn’t get out of the way in time. I wasn’t thinking. People stood to watch, obviously confusing me for a lunatic. Who else could be running that fast under the hot afternoon sun in a crowded street!

In that moment I’m not even thinking about them or anything else for that matter. My baby sister, only thing on my mind. She had called on my older brother who stays on the other side of the city and was coming back.

Where is she now? In a hospital? Or maybe helplessly lying there on the street, waiting for the police and the paramedics. Actually that’s when I realized I had not even asked in which state she was in. Was she in a critical condition? I hoped it was just a minor accident. I couldn’t afford to think about death. God forbid! Not death. She can’t die. She dies, probably mama dies too! Not her last child.

Taj Mall isn’t that far from where I was, so didn’t take me much time to get there. And I didn’t have to take a matatu, a nduthi (motor bike), Uber —  have a reserch I have to do on it that I keep procrastinating — or any other means of transportation in this side of the world.

Tried looking around for any place with a gathered crowd, presence of the boys in blue, an ambulance or a place with any sort of commotion, in vain. The place looked quiet, nothing like an accident scene and no sight of my sister. I was tempted to ask someone but I was scared. I dished out my phone to call, but wasn’t sure who to call.

Wanted to call Cony’s phone but was afraid some stranger will pick up, and maybe tell me what I had feared all along. So insead I called my older sister. She was just a little bit ahead of me. She had been to where I was before being redirected again. Gave me her position and in a few minutes caught up with her. Together we quietly followed the directions of this stranger she was talking to on her tablet.

The sun was burning down and the air was hot. I was sweating, and thirsty. Felt tired but I couldn’t stop to rest.

I kept going but then something made me stop. I had realized my sister was not following when it all became quiet around me. She’s hardly quiet, always talking. So most of the time I’m the one doing the listening, ain’t much of a talker, anyone who knows me well will tell you.

I turn and she’s not behind me. So I start looking among the pedestrians. I’m almost giving up when from a distance I see a raised black-sleeved hand, beckoning. I stretch my neck to look and it’s my sister in some company. They’re walking back and so I follow them. I’m introduced to this astute man with a friendly smile. He is one of the witnesses and actually the one who carried Cony from the accident scene on his back — not far away from the clinic — to that clinic. Narrates to us how it all happened.

It was a motorbike accident.

She was knocked down by a speeding motorcycle and lucky enough, not directly. There was another lady who got knocked down first. She was in a critical condition. So my sister wasn’t the only casualty.

The man leads us into this small clinic on the first floor — only way to the main entrance is a spiral staircase (how they get sick people up there, buffles me) — of this building along the Airport North Road near Transamii stage in Embakasi, Nairobi.

We are led through the reception with a handful of people to this small room where we find Cony seated. As soon as she sees us, breaks down crying. I’m relieved. She’s still breathing! Thank God. Starts talking in our mother tongue —Luhya — amid tears.

Mbere saa nyemere, nindanga khuvira mwanda kwa mwisho, alafu mundu wa ipikipiki angonga (I was just standing, waiting to cross the last lane, then the motorbike guy comes and knocks me down)!

So it was obvious she didn’t use the footpath that’s just a few meters from where she was knocked down. I enquired to find out why and she says that she was only following other passengers she had alighted from the matatu with. Now to other matters like how she’s feeling and if a doctor has checked her. Some dude with unkempt beard in a dust coat — looks like a quack — informs us that they’re still waiting for the doctor. In the meantime we try consoling her.

Finally the doctor walks in, a small Kamba guy. Greets us, walks over to the desk and sits. Talks to the patient, asking usual questions and then starts his magic. Nothing seriously just some slight injuries and shock or something close to that. She’s okay, though we will ohave to take her for further check ups. Don’t trust that doctor that much.

Writes a prescription, gives us some drugs that I didn’t even bother looking at and we hit ghe road.

I’m glad to get away from that place. FYI I hate hospitals. The last time I was in one was three years ago when we lost Naomi.

From the other room we could hear the woman knocked down alongside my sister writhing in pain. As we left, her family was still waiting for an ambulance for referral to a hospital. The “quack” was saying something about an operation on the woman’s right leg. Wish her quick recovery and hope she won’t be losing her limp.

I think something urgent needs to be done about this bodaboda (motorcycle taxi) riders. The number of accidents being caused by these guys — they’re always in a rush — is alarming. Early this month in Kakamega County, five men riding on one motorbike (like seriously) lost their lives instantly when they collided with a car. A clear case of stupidity!

Motorbikes are not bad and personally, one of these days I’m looking forward to owning one. The problem is with the riders, most of them are not well trained. They rarely observe traffic rules. When the traffic lights indicates that motor vehicles should stop, they just progress. Sometimes I wonder if they confuse themselves for pedestrians! When they knock down people, their colleagues are always there ready to defend them.

Do you know the imbecile who knocked down my sister is yet to be apprehended?

He was temporarily held by the crowds before his colleagues came to his rescue, helping him sneak away. But we have the plates numbers.

Something needs to be done about this guys before they end up sending all of us to the grave.

10 thoughts on “In a Nairobi road accident 

  1. Man you’re so on point!! This is everywhere.These types of guys drive Harum-scarum all over the place!!😑.I too love driving,but when i take my wheels out.. I’m way more responsible than i look😬. Hope your sister is fine now and that lady too recovers soon.And why don’t you explore the ‘bolt’ in you..?! 😀 Take care brother!!

    Liked by 1 person

  2. I’m glad your sister is okay, and i feel bad for the poor lady, i know exactly how horrible it is to be near harm with no fault of your own, but only the ignorance of some imbecile
    Take care out there.

    Liked by 1 person

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