Going Shags

I don’t travel much these days to shags (rural village home area) and it has been over a year since my last visit. The main reason is the bad state of the roads – with what used to be a 5 hour journey now taking at least 10 hours – on some of the worst possible roads in the country e.g. from Naivasha to Nakuru (including an additional rough 20km diversion) and the last 60 km to Eldoret town.

Driving one’s own car is an unwise decision and likely to lead to tyre, suspension or other serious problems (bottom of car was scraped over numerous rocky road stretches) during or soon after the journey.

Besides the bad roads, other things contribute to delay;
– The occasional pot holes even on good stretches of road – which is where I got a puncture
– In many places where the roads are good, local people have put up humongous bumps to slow you down. Many of these have no warning signs and I hit a few at quite high speed. I later learnt that whenever you see any building esp. school, town, or even a signboard, it’s a good idea to slow down and expect to find some bumps
– police road blocks – there are too many of these and they appear to serve no purpose than to extort money from commercial vehicles. These guys should be performing security operations, not harassing motorists.
– Petty errands. It’s always best to drive non-stop, but some passengers (esp. women) always want to stop for lunch, visit relatives, buy fruit or vegetable etc.

Advice for going shags
– carry small denomination notes – have a separate wad of 50 and 100 and 200 shilling notes.
– avoid giving mobile number or you will be pestered by anyone who later visits the city.

cousins: I have cousins who have been ravaged by alcohol and unemployment – lazy guys who drink all day and are prone to violent outbursts of frustration. I always wonder if I would have turned out like them I had grown up there or if my folks had never left the village to further their education.

They are hustlers who work on you, like Samuel Jackson’s great character in Jungle Fever for your money (hence the wad of loose cash). One said he wanted to replace a stolen mobile phone, 2 asked for money for fertilizer for maize fields, and one was honest enough to ask for drink money – but I suspect they all ended up in same drinking den where nothing like Tusker is served.

news: Going shags used to mean going incommunicado for day. Now one can listen to KISS or Capital FM, use mobile phones, play pool, and newspapers are easier to get. There’s still no cybercafé even though I am told the post office was the only internet place but it was closed on Sunday which I checked.

clothes: We used to be take old clothes – torn, worn, too small etc. to donate to our cousins. Now they enough have mitumba clothes sold on each market day and they all have the same fake Arsenal shirts and hip jeans as urbanites.

dogs There seems to have been some crossbreeding since the usual shags dogs now show signs of having some Alsatian and Spaniels genes.

12 thoughts on “Going Shags

  1. Kabinti

    so true about the naivasha-naks road, and here we have MPs who want to increase their allowances – some of that cash could be put to better use

  2. Guessaurus

    I know when I mention going to shags, and that it takes me 45 minutes from Nairobi using mats and 30 by personal car, people tell me tht my shags isnt really shags, but I concur on lots of things. I wonder how it would feel if I had to do shags in 10hrs – I need a helicopter for that seeing as I didnt inherit a patience gene.

    LOL on relas – BK trust me, they are all the same, but do perfect the ‘stiff upper lip’ look – see me for details, works like magic… I so need to learn it too.

  3. Girl next door

    Going to shags has been an adventure for me too! Roads are pathetic; if the rain caught us there, we had to stay coz the roads would be too muddy.
    @ Guess
    That idea of a helicopter makes sense. You save a lot of time and don’t need a lot of space to land.

  4. bankelele

    Kabinti: Naivasha road is a rattling car-breaker. As for MP’s…

    Acolyte: Sooner or later, you have to make that trip

    Guessaurus: I envy people from Machakos, Limuru, Masaini, Thika etc. if that’s as far as they go for shags. Helicopter not practical or affordable yet,as for Rela’s, they think anyone who works behind a desk earns money too easily and should part with it

    Girl next door: Thankfully it was not raining this time

  5. Prousette

    @guess you practically live in the city so that should not pass for shags. lucky you!!

    BK I take offence at you saying women usually want to make stops. Our place is some seven hours away -on a good day- down that Naivasha Road and you expect to drive non-stop?

  6. April

    and i thought the roads were bad in philadelphia!

    i have never been to kenya,but i’m planning an east africa trip next year (mainly ethiopia). a lot of the travel will be done by road and i’m a bit worried about all the hazards you mentioned.

    very informative blog. i will add you to my list of blogs.

  7. Couch 'tato

    sounds like u went to my shags:

    -oh yeah loose change notes and coins…nothing i hate more like being begged for cheap change…cash for gazetti…maziwa…

    -oh yeah never go wit own transport besides roads…try bebaring people to and fro…and there is nothing like the back seat bebas 3 people

  8. gishungwa

    i am a shags mudu but i come from naivasha so for us we can drive down to shags. I agree women are more prone talk of my other shags where i come from originally meru though they have fixed the road but my sisters and ma have to stop and buy everything.
    And those relas who ask for money and for the ladies the 64M question”when are you getting married?”
    great post though fond memories of Sams Disco in Eld

  9. bankelele

    Prousette: I can argue that women want to make more stops than men (and not for bathroom or food breaks)!

    April: Some roads are good, many are really bad, make sure you have a tough SUV for your extensive trip

    Couch ‘tato: Shags people say city people don’t work and should give away whatever their bring upcountry on top of buying tea leveas, sugar and roiko to also leave behind

    gishungwa: telling it like it is to Prousette! In Eld, am a Klique hanger

  10. Anonymous

    Sasa Bankele?Just a fab blog u got.Keep up the gud work.
    By the way r u a mkale(Not being tribal bt jus curious)
    Am proudly kenyan n kale..lol
    Jus from the context of ua “Going shagz storo” makes me think ur a mkale?

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