29 November 2012

Piki piki boda boda

Wycliff has a clever way of making sure he never misses a call from a customer!

"Piki piki" is Swahili for 'motorbike'.

"Boda boda" is what a bicycle or motorbike taxi is called. It originated from bicycle drivers hollering 'border, border' at the Uganda/Kenya border many years ago. The bicycles were used to ferry people to the other side of the border. Kenyans typically drop the "R" sound from their words... and so it ends up sounding like "boda boda".

Add "piki piki" to the equation and you have a very interesting name - 'piki piki boda boda' :)

Motorbike taxis entered the scene in Kenya approximately 2005. Before that, the equivalent was bicycle taxis. When I'm in a remote rural area, both come in handy since there aren't always matatu routes.

I much prefer the motorized version. On a bicycle taxi, if your destination includes hills, both the driver and the passenger have to get off and walk up the hill. On motorbikes, fortunately this isn't necessary.

Getting fuel, with Wycliff (my long-time boda boda driver)

This doesn't exactly LOOK like a petrol station, does it?
You can choose fresh produce from the top shelf.

And... you can buy your petrol from either a one-liter or a 500ml soda bottle :)

Tools of the trade

Sloshing through the mud on a motorbike is not unusual.

 When I'm in Webuye, I use Jeff. Yep...that's my backpack on the right.

I love his little sign - Jesus is Lord.

Multiple passengers (up to four or five!) is not unusual!

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