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Easter: Why it's not ‘cool’ for kin to travel together

Friday April 19 2019

ROAD SAFETY

Kenyans queue at Mfangano bus stop in Nairobi on April 18, 2019, as they wait to travel to other regions for Easter celebrations. PHOTO | DENNIS ONSONGO | NATION MEDIA GROUP 

CAROLINE NJUNG'E
By CAROLINE NJUNG'E
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LILYS NJERU
By LILYS NJERU
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It is common for relatives to travel in the same vehicle when going to a common destination.

This may be a wedding, a burial, or simply visiting a public social place such as a mall. Sadly, some of these journeys have ended tragically.

In January for instance, six family members, among them four children and their grandfather, died in a road accident on the Kericho-Nakuru highway.

In another crash in July 2016, five members of the same family perished at Salgaa, on the Nakuru-Eldoret Highway. The five were: father, son, daughter-in-law and two grandchildren.

In yet another heart-rending case, in August last year, five members of the same family died in a grisly road crash at Kianungu on the Nyeri-Nyahururu Road.

A man, his two children and two female relatives perished. They were returning home from a family gathering.

REDUCE RISK

During the Easter season last year, a woman and her four children perished on the Nakuru — Eldoret highway. They were heading to Ol Kalou in Nyandarua County for bride price payment.

Over the years, the shattering news of relatives dying on our roads at the same time have led some to reconsider travelling in the same vehicle.

Whatever mode of travelling they are using, public or private, they either travel on different dates, or use different vehicles.

Daisy Okoti’s is one such family. Unlike most people who travel as a family, Daisy cannot remember the last time she travelled together with her sisters.

“I have two sisters, and as far back as my memory can go, the three of us travelled separately. When we were younger, it was usually the firstborn travelling alone and then the two of us would travel together,” says Daisy.

CULTURE

When they were in primary, one of them used the institution’s van, while the other two would use public means to get to school.

“Our neighbours and schoolmates thought that one of us was favoured, but it was our parents’ way to ensure that we did not travel in the same vehicle,” she says.

They are all adults now, but this structure of travelling separately is so ingrained in them that the thought of the three travelling together does not even come up.

“Sometimes two of us travel together, but never the three of us. Even when we are offered a lift, it is very natural for one of us to step back.

“When travelling home over the holidays, since we all live in Nairobi, it takes us about three days to get home for Christmas. We pick dates carefully. One could go on a Tuesday, the other on a Wednesday and the last one on a Thursday. Or two of us would arrive on the same day but at different times, different means.”