Categories
Kenya

Motorcycle Taxis

Kenyans call motorcycle taxis “boda-boda”. They are ubiquitous; they reach the parts of the country other vehicles cannot reach. Out in the bundu, visiting a remote health centre, I saw a petrol station with a lone pump, miles from the nearest decent road – of course, it caters to the “boda-boda”.

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By the market and shops, there are always knots of riders looking for fares. The driver will help you to carry your purchases back home, even if it is a bed frame and mattress.

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All the riders are males. They see me as a possible fare, so I get approached frequently. If they see I have my camera, they usually want me to take their photograph. Some are real posers.

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To protect them from the wind, some riders fit a fairing made from rubber flooring material. It is custom-made, cut to fit the bike. The one above cost £2.

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They carry furled umbrellas across the handlebars during the rainy season. When the rain starts, they hoist the umbrella which is specially elongated to cover the pillion passenger.

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I learned that the word “boda-boda” comes from a time when motorcycles were used to cross national borders using rough dirt roads, bypassing the official border crossings.

By Dr Alfred Prunesquallor

Maverick doctor with 40 years experience, I reduced my NHS commitment in 2013. I am now enjoying being free lance, working where I am needed overseas. Now I am working in the UK helping with the current coronavirus pandemic.

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