29 November 2012

Maili Tisa, nine miles from Eldoret

It's so common for people to look over a shoulder,
and read someone else's newspaper.

'Maili Tisa' means 'nine miles'. This particular junction, on the Uganda Highway, is nine miles from Eldoret on the way to Kitale. Because many long-distance trucks (lorries) use this road, this junction has become a truck-stop of sorts. I frequent this junction on my travels, and one day recently had the opportunity to snap a few photos.

I have no idea why these guys choose to hang out on a small 'island'
smack-dab in the middle of the highway?

Matatus waiting to collect passengers

Small roadside cafe

"Car" wash... in pools of water left from recent rains

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!

Boda boda flat tire, #1

Getting petrol before leaving Webuye town, going to see Agnes at Misikhu

Uh-oh! We got a flat... and had to walk a ways to where a fundi (repairman) was.

He diligently set about his task and ended up finding three punctures.

These guys asked me to take their photo :)

These curious boys were all recently circumcised... thus the wrap-around lesos.

The fundi used a knife to roughen up the tube for the cement and patch.

Cutting a patch from an old "bladder" (inner tube)

Using a hammer and the exhaust pipe to adhere the patch into place

Making sure it worked and that there are no more leaks

The father of the fundi also asked me to take his photo.

More curious children

Boda boda flat tire, #2

The second flat tire happened just a month later, this time traveling on a very rough dirt road between Misikhu and Kona Mbaya.

Avoiding the mud and puddles is not easy!

Squishy, sticky mud!

My driver checks out the puncture...

... and we begin a long walk... we were NOT close to a fundi this time :(

When at long last we reached the fundi, I bought a soda for my driver and myself.

Curious kids always congregate when they see a 'mzungu'.

Random photos from my recent travels

Future saleslady, Webuye market

Street boys, Eldoret

Women's half-marathon, Eldoret

The lady in front was the winner!

Men's half-marathon, Eldoret

Men's half-marathon, Eldoret

Severely worn-out major highway in Kenya!

Harvest season, near Matunda

Beautiful sunset, Nzoia Scheme

Live chickens on display and for sale, Matunda market

Mt. Elgon, Misikhu

Motorcar rally, Eldoret

Recently harvested sugarcane being transported to factory, Misikhu

How many salt shakers are required in Kenya to find one that actually shakes salt?
In this case, it took three, Kitale restaurant! 

Street boys, early morning in Kitale

This truck took several minutes to back into a narrow alley,
all-the-while blocking traffic, Kitale

Mzungu shopper, Kitale roadside market 

Interesting car display, Kitale restaurant

Donkeys are used for many things in rural Kenya, Nzoia Scheme

Oxen hauling a load, Brigadier Road (near Kitale)

Harvesting sand, Brigadier Road (near Kitale)

Another load pulled by oxen

Women work hard in Kenya, Brigadier Road

This lady is shading her baby from the hot sun, Brigadier Road

Eucalyptus (Blue Gum) trees, Brigadier Road

Drying maize and mixing in preservative, Brigadier Road