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The road less travelled

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According to a June 2020 study by Flone Initiative, women make up 10 per cent of the work force in the public transport industry in the country, 85 per cent of them being matatu conductors in Nairobi; it is no longer a male-dominated job. However,

“I used to ride the so-called nganyas to school every day, and being that I am a social and open-minded person, I would interact with the accomodating personnel and with time, I deeply fell in love with the unique culture that is the Kenyan matatu industry,” she tells PD Wikendi. A daughter of Italian parents who met and got married in Kenya, Lucia is thankful to have been born and bred in this country with an atypical public transport sector, which would become her biggest passion.

After completing high school, she joined Montessori College in Nairobi to pursue teaching, a course she did not complete, as what she desired was to work as a tout. However, she would again proceed to pursue a certificate in pharmacy, which is her mother’s profession. In 2015, Lucia ditched her pharmacy career and decided to follow her heart, becoming a full-time makanga in Kitengela, a route she says she felt comfortable in, being that she was serving people she grew up around.

Lucia recalls how at first, residents of Kitengela, seeing a mzungu on the matatu door calling on passengers to board, were certain it was a prank. “In my first days, people were dumbfounded, wondering if it was a stunt. They even became reluctant to board the vehicle, as they thought that maybe there was a hidden camera somewhere recording the ‘prank’. No one believed a mlami could take this job, but, eventually, they realised it was for real and got used to it,” she recounts.

The venture was fraught with challenges for her; not only was she a woman in a rough man’s world, but also a ‘foreigner’. “Some commuters felt they could get aggressive towards me, for example when disgruntled by what they found to be high fares. Dealing with a rude passenger who does not want to cooperate and respect my hustle is still among my worst moments while in the line of duty. Some passengers like to show that they are allknowing. Again, there were instances where people thought I don’t understand Swahili or sheng, which I speak fluently, so they would throw jabs at me, but I never let it get to me. If you are a strong woman who respects herself and you understand that this is a job like any other, there is no situation that would be too difficult to manoeuvre. Women are many in the industry these days, and people now take it as a normal thing,” adds Lucia, who currently works in Crisis of Wamasaa Sacco.

PANDEMIC STRUGGLE
At the moment, the Covid-19 pandemic, which has really hamstrung their work, is

it is still unusual to meet a woman nganya crewmember. It is even rarer to meet one from a different race. But, the well known Lucia Alessandra Murotto, a Caucasian woman conductor, never saw these as barriers to stop her from following her passion. Walking along Nairobi’s Railways bus terminus, where Kitengela matatus are stationed, you will likely meet the 29-year-old shouting herself hoarse calling for passengers, a job she has now served in for over five years.

Growing up in Kitengela, Kajiado county, Lucia, famously known as Mlami by the area residents owing to her Italian origin, never prayed for something bigger in her future than serving in the matatu industry. Her desire to join the sector grew while she was still in high school, when the single mother of one used to commute daily to school, boarding the renowned decorated matatus of the vibrant route 110 Kitee, and got to interact with the friendly crews.

FALLING IN LOVE

the biggest issue that, like others in the sector, she’s dealing with on the job. “We are only carrying 60 per cent of the bus capacity, so, hitting the profit target becomes an uphill task. To cope, investors have sadly been forced to send some crewmembers home, and we’ve also had to raise fares so as to at least remain afloat,” she explains.

Challenges aside, what Lucia loves the most about her job is how the crews she works with are humble and understanding. “We live like one big family, sticking by each other through thick and thin. We are always there for one another, be it during funerals, weddings, when one of our colleagues gets a child, even birthdays, we come together and offer support,” she beams.

When not filling matatus with passengers and collecting fares, the last-born in a family of two daughters helps her mum out at her pharmacy in Kisaju. Meanwhile, the nganya culture enthusiasm has rubbed of on her nine-year-old son, who she says knows almost all the Kitengela hot mats by name.

For now, it appears Lucia is in it for the long haul. “I have been dreaming of investing in the matatu industry since I was 16. I would love to take my matatu to Kitengela, Rongai or even Eastleigh, since I have worked on the three routes and I know their ins and outs, ” she concludes.

By PD.co.ke

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VIDEO: Garden of Joy is officially a GREEN PROJECT

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Garden of Joy by Optiven is fully installed with solar powered street lights.

The initiative is an add on not initially earmarked for the project.

Implementation of water recycling technology, Recycling of biogradable waste and hundreds of trees in place.

We have been undertaking intentional education on green energy as per sustainable development goals no 11 and No 7

The launch of the green initiative was graced by reknown artiste -JUSTINA SYOKAU, of the hit song Twendi twendi.

Joy and dance broke out to celebrate this great step as Optiven ups it’s game in greening projects under it’s portfolio. Watch the video here>>> https://youtu.be/XaNmhif7dAA

The project is ready to build with owners already groundbreaking for their dream homes.

At a price of 1.495M, get a piece of Joy today. We also have installment options as well.

To secure your plot TODAY, call us on 0723400500 or visit www.optiven.co.ke
#GardenofJoyGoesGreen

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Restoring The Dignity of Senior Citizens

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In order to succeed, our desire for success should be greater than our fear of failure.

That’s why Optiven Foundation together with Philanthropists and partners continues to Transform the lives of Mama Nduku and her children in Ivovoani.

Partner with us TODAY to enable her succeed in getting a new home. Log on to www optivenfoundation.org
#RestoringTheDignityofSeniorCitizens
#OurPhilanthropyDay
#TransformingLives
#Eyesonthecommunity

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VIDEO: Bonus Value Add for Garden of Joy customers

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Finally, it’s all joy for those who bought the Garden of Joy (GOJ). Optiven has pulled a positive surprise by kicking off the installation of hundreds of green solar lights along all the estate roads. The launch happened today when the GOJ was declared a green project.

The engineer installing this green energy friendly street lights lauded Optiven for being an Eco-friendly organization and openly subscribing to suitable development goals no 11 (Sustainable cities and communities) and no 7 ( Affordable and clean energy)

https://www.facebook.com/watch/live/?v=355584738838377&ref=watch_permalink

Among the guests who attended this event was Justina Syokao of the popular 2020 hit song.

The installation was packed with joy as the Garden of Joy joined other Optiven projects that have already gone green.

We urged all our customers to join the green movement by building houses that have natural light, use water recycling technologies such as bio digester, trees planting and managing waste.

This project is now ready for occupation and customers have already started building fast and furious

The plots are on offer at 1.295M up to the 30th October. The offer will be 1.495 from 1st of Nov

Secure your property today with only 200k and enjoy a 12 months installment plan

If you want to join this green project, get in touch with us Today:
Phone: 0790 300 300 | 0723 400 500
Visit our Website for more details: www.optiven.co.ke

https://www.facebook.com/georgeoptiven/videos/355584738838377/
We were live at Garden of Joy.

Kindly click the link, share and let’s create engagement as we talk about how we can participate in the Green Agenda. #GardenOfJOYgoesGREEN
#OptivenGoesGreen

 

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