Why You Must Think Before Putting School Kids on Boda Boda

BY MWANAHABARI REPORTER

It happened sometimes back – in one of the estates in Nairobi – but the scene has always replayed in my mind every time I see a child sitting on a motorbike heading to school or wherever.

I was walking to work on that chilly morning – somewhere along Ngong Road.

As I was trekking on the side of the road – I saw a mother with her two little children – a boy and a girl – and a boda boda rider.

The mother and the rider exchanged hearty laughed as they huggled over the right amount. I could tell that it was not the first time he was ferrying these kids to school.

The tall dark rider was clad in that traditional orange reflector jacket – and I saw him take time to inspect his ride as he prepared to load the two little children onto the seat.

He sat first – you know the way they do it.

The girl was probably aged between 6 and 7 years – or thereabout. The boy was a lot younger – somewhere in the neighborhood of 4 or 5 years – utmost.

The two kids were clad in school uniform – and looking smart . They looked excited too. Very excited.

I heard them argue over who was  to sit at the furthest end of the passenger seat. The girl who was older won the fight – of course with the help of their mother.

I don’t know why this sweet family caught my attention that morning. I just found myself looking at these decent angels who were just beginning their education life – and wishing them well.

Perhaps it was because I had walked the same path as child – of course not on a motorbike as bikes only belonged to Kenya Power Meter readers.

Those other powerful motorbikes would only be seen on TV – racing – or you would find them with traffic officers.

Back to my story.

So, I walked past them – as they boarded their ride to school.

The boy – who was the youngest – sat in the middle – sandwiched between the sister and the rider. Of course the kids didn’t have any helmet on – they never do.

The motorbike roared past me – it was laboring on the steep road – forcing the rider to struggle – a bit.

I looked at the motorbike – and the kids.

Then I heard the sound. A loud wailing sound of a child in excruciating pain.

I looked around – and realized it was the little girl on the motorbike – just a few meters away from me.

The base of her left leg (the part you use to firmly step on the ground) had swayed into the unforgiving path of the sharp metallic spokes.

The beastly spokes showed no mercy to this little girl – and went on to grind what used to be her leg.

I shouted at the rider to stop – which he did. But it was already too late.

I ran and held the girl. She couldn’t cry…. She stood on one feet… the other was hanging loosely. She sank into my hands – begging me to help her.

I couldn’t look. Part of her leg was gone… the bones had been crashed… and a good part of it. She would never be the same again.

I held the kid for a bit… and shouted some instructions to the rider to phone the mother as she had just left them a few minutes ago…. he did call her on phone.

The girl was eventually rushed to St Mary’s hospital in Langata.

Then I met the rider two days later – I decided to engage him. I wanted to find out how the girl was doing.

“Amekuwa admitted St Mary’s. I hope atakuwa sawa lakini mguu imeumia vibaya,” he said.

 

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