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MIDEGA: Why rain should skip the city and fall in ‘bread basket’ areas

Yes, it’s March, and the rainy season is here.

Rain is good as it gives us water, makes the earth smell fresh and soaks up dust on the streets… I am sure you don’t want me to go on and on.

For Nairobians, however, rain could as well be labelled bad.

There’s something about a sudden shower that just drives city residents crazy. It’s like every drop comes infused with an atom of irrationality that brings out the worst in us.

Hawkers appear from nowhere with chants of “umbrella mia mbili (umbrella two hundred),” crowding an already impossible walk on pavements.

This ends up in a mess from which only shoving and pushing helps you to move.

A dusty street is transformed into a sludge pot due to drainage hitches.


You’re forced to wade through that, or endure the curse words, angry stares and annoying ankle stamps as you all crowd on the last square inch of dry pavement under an ‘exhibition’ stall.

It’s a no-win situation and you end up muddy and angry if you do or muddy and wet if you don’t.

The laws of supply and demand are bent and broken beyond all reasonable proportion, as fares rise faster than oil prices during a crisis in the Middle East.

The extortion rings that are matatu crews announce tripled fare and stare nonchalantly as irrational Darwinism takes over. If you don’t lose an arm and a leg trying to get in, you definitely will paying through your nose.

The traffic jam on city roads even after modest rain is one even Patrick Shaw would never solve.

The “let’s kill time over a drink or two as we wait for the traffic/fares to ease” behaviour kicks in for some. And five hours later, they end up with frustrated, rained-on Alcoblow-toting cops.

We love rain, but please, for our sanity’s sake, let it stick to the bread basket provinces.

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