The Matatu driver: a risk-taker or a silly billy

Arguably, there are no convenient means of transport in Kenya like Matatu. Matatu transport is so established that a distinct culture has been constructed around it. The so-called Matatu culture. This culture has its fair share of the good, the bad and the ugly. Take an example of Githurai bus ZamZam crew who was accused of pushing a passenger to his death in August 2019! But of course, there are also heartening stories from the dog-eat-dog Matatu Industry. 

On several occasions, I travel from Nyeri to Nairobi and back. And as my ritual, I prefer travelling during the daytime. I have good reasons for doing so. Still, there are many times darkness has succeeded in tricking me, like three years ago.

I was coming from Nairobi, and the darkness was fast approaching. It appeared that this swift change in times annoyed the driver a great deal. Now, anyone who uses the Nyeri-Nairobi road knows that things can get murky during weekends.

The traffic was heavy; a long snarl-up. In many instances, the driver would dash the other lane, and floor the gas pedal, the sound of which would wake me up from a little slumber and a little folding of the hands. From sleep, I would stretch my neck to scan the horizon peradventure to know if I needed to say my final prayers. What I saw as these theatrics persisted would almost turn my insides out. And I think everybody in the matatu was frightened. Ironically the petrolhead in me would admire it. The sound of a turbo spool can send any petrolhead into a frenzy – like a five-year-old at Disneyland Park. I don’t mean the sound of a misfiring engine but rather the sound of a healthy engine when the turbo kicks in.

“This driver must be very daring,” I told myself. What if he met another ‘miscreant’ driver who is equally ‘courageous?’

I love the thrill of the speed, yet I love life too. The only time I would jive with fate is when I am alone. The other time, I would floor the damn stuff is when I am anxious.

Anxiety is detrimental. Don’t tell me to drive when distressed. I may just fly you to kingdom come.

Back to the matatu driver. Was he a risk-taker, or plain stupid? Seriously I don’t know. The point is that he got us out of the traffic jam fast.

This takes me straight to the Bible.

Ecclesiastes 10:8 says, “When you work in a quarry, stones might fall and crush you! When you chop wood, there is a danger with each stroke of your axe! Such are the risks of life” (NLT).

Jesus reminded us that one of the greatest mistakes we can make is to play it safe with our lives. He said, “If you try to keep your life for yourself, you’ll lose it.”

We probably remember the part in the third Indiana Jones movie where Indiana Jones came to the edge of a cliff. He was challenged to step out over the cliff even though he couldn’t see a bridge beforehand. That’s not a bad picture of genuine faith. Faith is stepping out and doing what God has asked you to do when you can’t see what will happen in the end. You precisely don’t know what God’s going to do in the end, but you know he’s asking you to step out in faith. Take risks, albeit with wisdom from God.

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