Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Piki-Pikis and an ounce of courage

I've spoken of matatus as a crazy Kenyan adventure. However, I don't think I've mentioned piki-pikis, also known as boda-bodas. Why? Because piki-piki is a Kiswahili word for motorcycle and I was afraid of never hearing the end of my riding on a motorcycle on unpredictable roads. As you can see, I've since gotten over my fear of chastisement because I am too much in love with the feeling of freedom.

Piki-pikis are often used to shuttle people from one place to another. I have taken them from the matatu stage (stop) on my way to USIU, not because I'm running late, but because they're fun. Same with my work at Alta'awon. Sometimes, I just want to ride to work. Each time, I feel a rush of adrenaline so exhilarating, I wonder why my body hasn't yet sprouted wings. In that moment, I am free.

Riding piki-pikis have taught me that, while I should use common sense, I cannot prevent life from happening. There are speed bumps, oncoming cars and pedestrians, rocks, dirt, and sometimes horrific accidents. At the same time, there is the feeling of the wind on your cheeks, the rush that comes with the speed of the wheels and the hum of the engine. There is that split second when everything stops and you're flying.

Embrace life. Don't live recklessly but live as if it's your only shot. Embrace the crazy opportunities that come, no matter how scary they sound. I'm not afraid of these guys on motorbikes. If anything, I'd rather die in a motorcycle crash while experiencing Kenya rather than live a long life only to find that I haven't gone anywhere or done anything. I don't look for death, mind you. I just don't let it stop me.

"My best friend gave me the best advice. He said today's a gift and not a given right." Funny, a friend has tried for years to impart this to me. My friend, with many others, should know that I'm finally taking it.

On another note, my extreme apologies for the lack of pictures. My Internet's been shady. I will put some up in good time.

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