Rain troubles in Kenya: Blackout,jam and floods
Rains, the adage goes is a blessing. But in Kenya it must be a curse. I curse every time when am about to leave my house in the morning and from a seemingly clears skies the torrents of raindrops fall.
And in the evening when I want to leave for home the lull in the weather ends and it starts again.
Then I have to painfully walk to the bus stop and wait for a matatu to take me to work,suddenly they become scarce and the fares shoot up by the double. When you finally get a seat in the ‘mat’ you have to ‘vumilia’ the wet clothing and a number of water dripping umbrellas by fellow passengers. By the time you reach office your shoes are not only looking like a farmer’s but the clothes too.
After a long day at work the pain starts in your journey back home. The short trip home that always take you 10 minutes now take two hours. You arrive home cold and all you need is a warm shower and then relax in the couch and enjoy the news on telly or a movie if you have the time.
But No,when you alight from the ‘mat’ the hood is in darkness…Kenya Power has done it again! There is no electricity. You struggle to walk through the potholed filled road trying to dodge the numerous pools of water. This time all the prayers you had earnestly made to God to open the floods gates of heaven and let it rain are momentarily forgotten. You brain is at home in the dark cold house.
You arrive at home by God’s grace in one piece. Then you find its a candle light affair. Your mood by now borders on seething anger and resignation. Anger for the failures in systems that cannot give you a good ride home because; one the transport system does not work,two that the blessings of rain always cause havoc through blackouts. And despite all the water out there your taps at home are dry. Nairobi Water has joined hands with Kenya Power to make your miserable day even worse. The dreams of a hot shower goes out the window.
After struggling to boil water for the hot shower you so need,all this time freezing after being rained on, and using expensive gas you take the shower and settle down to have a candle lit dinner. And as if on cue the electricity comes just in time to catch the day’s happenings in the news.
In the headline: Seven die after flood waters sweeps houses away. You zap to another channel and the headline screams, Nairobi resident stranded for hours after flash floods wash away roads. Yet another channel declares, President Kibaki tastes blackout after power goes off while reading a statement in an international conference. It is a rainy disaster night when you learn that some families will sleep in the cold after rain washed away their homes in Kisumu.
And as if on cue the Kenya Power switch is put off,you go back to the darkness even before you iron your clothes and you sleep knowing that tomorrow the day will start with more headache of low self esteem with un-ironed clothes.
As you enter your cold bed you cant stop thinking about the high taxes you pay to the government to make your life more comfortable.
You wonder why Mombasa road which was refurbished recently still flood and cause so much traffic jam. You wonder why we still use the drainage system that was drawn by colonialists in the 50s. You wonder why some of your friends have to shift from their homes and stay with relatives after failing to access their flooded homes-while they are still paying huge loans for the same houses.
You go to sleep hoping that one day things will change. And the rains that you so heard prayed for becomes a curse and God in heaven shakes his head at the folly that is human beings. We have failed to use our brains and soon we will, see headlines on television and newspaper report how hundreds are starving following crop failure due to poor rains. And this is Kenya. And the circle continues.