Matatus, catcalls and why I’m going to be broke soon

Kenyan back from America has reverse culture shock and resorts to Ubering

In Summary

• I don’t want to work just to pay taxes to Zacchaeus. I heard he's taxing chickens now

Matatus along Tom Mboya Street in Nairobi's CBD
Matatus along Tom Mboya Street in Nairobi's CBD
Image: FILE

I’m sitting on my mother’s kitchen island, typing away on my laptop. She is making breakfast and I’m always so excited to watch her cook. My mum’s food is always the bomb, and she’s never been the type to spice it up too much. But somehow, it always tastes better when mum makes it.

I have been back home for a few weeks now, and I’m starting to get the itch for a job. I have been actively working since I was 18 years old, probably younger. My parents were the type to have attachments lined up for me during the long holidays because they always wanted me to be ahead. It paid off, and I have a very impressive CV.

I’m stressed about finding work in Kenya. I know for a fact that I may not find a job with the same earning potential as my previous one, and that is a real demotivator. I don’t want to work and I definitely don’t want to work just to pay taxes to Zacchaeus. I heard he is taxing chickens now, allegedly.

The plan is to be here for a little while, take a deep breath before going back to the United States, which has become the absolute ghetto. Still, from a financial standpoint, it is better there than here. I also found my potential husband, allegedly. He said he is working on bringing the cows and goats to my mum. I said bet.

There are a few things I miss about the States. I miss my car and the ability to drive anywhere with no traffic and the guarantee that a matatu will not try to run me off the road. So far, I have almost died twice in a matatu.

The first time, I was sitting up front with the driver when he decided to overtake despite the fact that a Probox was speeding from the opposite direction. I looked at the driver in horror and he laughed it off, saying personal vehicle owners should know, “Barabara si ya mama yao.” I said OKAY sir and got off somewhere on River Road.

Then I got lost because I was so confused and overwhelmed by the people, the cars, the motorbikes and the catcalls. I almost had a full-on panic attack because, why is everyone so close to me? Why did that man touch me? Where am I? That man just hit my boob and now I want to cry.

Anyway, I’ve been Ubering everywhere now because I’m just a baby girl. I expect to be broke soon.

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