Bodabodas are slowly becoming the preferred means of transport in Mandera.
Many residents pre ,thanks to its ability to manoeuvre through rough terrain. Pastoral communities have embraced the boda bodas that were less popular in the past.
Those who spoke to the Star said it has made life easier. Residents not only use them for movement, but to transport their livestock to the market.
The boda bodas have createdjobs for many youths.
The majority of Mandera roads are not tarmacked, making it difficult for some vehicles to operate. Motorists are afraid of damaging their vehicles.
In the remote area of Takaba in Mandera West, several pastoralists and their animals, mostly goats and sheep, are transported using boda bodas.
“I am from Gither village, some 120km from Takaba town. I wanted to sell these two goats which are very weak and can barely walk. Thanks to the boda boda I have managed to get them here [to the market]. It did not cost me much. If I decided to walk with them, they would have died on the way,” Abdi Mohamed said.
Before the boda bodas, the pastoral community spent hours, sometimes days, to reach nearby villages or towns to sell market goods or transact businesses.
Abdullahi Birik, a resident of Takaba, said the boda boads have helped them locate their animals in case they get lost in the wild while in search of pasture.
“Just last week while grazing my animals, I noticed 10 of them were missing. I searched for them deep in the bushes with the help of a boda boda and found them,” he said.
The residents use the bikes to transport patients to hospitals and health centres, especially during emergencies. The boda bodas have created hundreds of jobs for many youth, including Benard Owino, who is originally from Siaya. He runs a boda boda garage, which he says earns him his livelihood.