What I learnt in Nairobi
- Nairobi’s traffic jams put all the other one’s to shame (sometimes it’s quicker to walk)
- Bicycles are heavy and often pushed up hills (unless men see a lady overtaking them)
- The base in matatus is probably more risky than the matatus themselves
- Kenyans have a bounce in their walk that puts all other walkers to shame
- Even Kenyans can get lost on the Matatus (often there are two numbers – THE SAME – that take you to opposite sides of the city)
- The ownership and operation of the matatus is a complex business
- Boda boda drivers like to take you on shortcuts which involve incomplete roads
- They have special wheelchair-bicycles for handicap people that are very cool
- People live and walk along the railway track and the train seems to be mainly servicing poorer parts of the city
- Being employed in transport is an important part of helping people ‘get their daily bread’
- There are lots of commercial centres/malls with lots of parking and huge concentration of shops
What I thought before I went to Nairobi
Chaos and colour are two aspects of Nairobi’s transport that will always stay in my mind. Nearly ten years ago, I was in Nairobi and it was there that I started to think about the community, the characters and the cultures that are a part of how we experience urban transport. It is for this reason I wanted to revisit the city (it’s the only city in the film that I have been to before) and I hope I can capture some of the magic that got me thinking about transport all those years ago.
What does the research say about transport in Nairobi?
Still to do!
When am I in Nairobi and what am I doing?
I’ll be in Nairobi from 4th July and I’ll stay for a couple of weeks before I head off to visit friends in other parts of Africa and hopefully I’ll get to go trekking as well. There will be changes during the 8 years since I’ve been there so it will be interesting to see how it feels now. I think it is going to be very interesting to film the matatus and to find out whether passengers enjoy the music and the character of them or are they too busy hoping to survive the journey.
I’ve heard that there are a whole lot more cars on the road and congestion is bad. I’m hoping there is still some room for bicycles and motor bikes in this city and that there are still lots of beauty people on the street, not just vehicles. I will try and catch a boda boda (a motorbike) and hopefully survive (or at least my camera survives) so you can see what it’s like.
I’m going to try and take my camera to a variety of areas in Nairobi, including the slums. I will try and keep it real and hopefully I will get to meet a variety of beautiful musical characters while I’m there.