Remember when I first got to Kenya and was very safety conscious/slightly paranoid? Well, I’ve relaxed a little bit.
I walk around during the day by myself and I have started taking public buses and matatus (crazy little mini-vans/unofficial buses) home from my kiswahili class. My husband’s coworkers, who had the same severe safety warnings that we got before we arrived, are amazed. But it’s really no big deal.
Here’s why I feel comfortable taking public transportation despite the warnings:
- I only walk by myself during daylight and in busy, public areas.
- I dress casually and carry only my crappy cell phone and a few dollars.
- I ride the bus from one “nice” area to another. Some of my classmates take public transportation into the slum areas and have never had a problem. Right now, I’m not comfortable enough to do that.
- I ride on a busy route, and I always know where I am (I could walk if the bus broke down of if I didn’t feel safe.)
- I am never at the main bus/matatu station downtown (which has been a target for grenade attacks). Instead, I ride from one bus stop in the suburbs to another bus stop in the suburbs.
My husband still hasn’t taken public transportation here, so he has yet to experience the joys of rocking out to reggae while weaving in and out of traffic on the pot-holed roads of our neighborhood. I get to enjoy all that adventure for the low, low price of 30 cents a ride.