Who doesn’t love a long road trip?
The endless open road, favorite jams and binge-ing on junk with a loved one.
If one is lucky, a spontaneous fight with the significant other over some useless trivia from weeks ago – that results to a few miles of tarmac in total silence – as each goes over the minute merits and de-merits of dating a complete Neanderthal …….
It’s never that serious, right?
Endless miles staring at gaping cornfields and bare-chested farm workers often lead to a wise, epiphany moment – and you always make up!
But, have you had a chance to travel long distance on public transport?
On the long distance, overnight buses, it’s easy to be a complete idiot. Something takes over the minds and personalities of otherwise rational citizens to transition them to undesirable versions of themselves.
Is it the caging feel? It can be overwhelming for natural free birds.
Most overnight buses are severely sealed and air-conditioned. Free birds seek refuge in some sort of protest. Is it the scented air of the bus cabins – tainted with a variety of individual smells – garlic, alcohol, strong perfumes and, of course, body sweats?
Whatever it is, people act weird and irritable.
Once in a while, though, these night travel buses have been the source of very inspiring stories.
Lifelong friendships and even marriages have started with a mere, random seating arrangement. Getting stuck with someone for long periods sometimes leads to honest one-to-one conversations – meeting new friends, and networking.
On a personal front, an eye-opening encounter happened in November 2019.
The pandemic hadn’t yet gained traction in East Africa, and business was still bustling – gearing up for the Christmas festivities.
On this day, I was booked on a 10 PM bus from Nairobi to Mombasa. It wasn’t the high-end, air-conditioned class. Just a regular commuter mini bus. The firm is cheap, but has a reputation for reliability. For this reason, it’s the favorite for the market traders, fondly referred to as Mama Mboga’s.
On this day, I chanced upon a trader – supplied bananas, oranges and whatever other fruits are in season – from inland to the coastal city. She was talkative, and opened up quite fast. In less than an hour, she’d talked of her supportive chama, her family, her clan and, thankfully, her business.
It’s the business part that inspired me.
After half a year saving with her chama – which had a central account at Co-op Bank – she’d taken a chama loan. She’d partnered with a colleague and started buying seasonal fruits in bulk, to sell at the coastal areas.
They’d been in a promising business streak for a few weeks. Never underestimate the reach of ambitious women. In just two months, they’d repaid their chama loans.
The challenges they faced?
Top of the list was the uncertainty with the cargo lorries. They’d load at Ngara Market, then follow up on the night buses to rendezvous with the lorry at the main coastal market at dawn – Kongowea.
Sometimes, delays on the road happened. The lorry crew would hike fees. The fruit cargo would naturally go bad. Transport was their main headache.
I dozed off at some point, after the Mtito Andei stop-over.
I wish I’d picked her contacts. I’d be glad call her about an exciting opportunity that could solve her transport challenges, as a long time Co-op Bank client, dubbed ‘Biashara Iendelee’.
Co-op Bank has a vehicle financing deal with Isuzu and Simba Colt that gives clients up to 95% funding on selected vehicle brands to boost Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises (MSMEs).
These are versatile lorry and pick-up trucks ideal for business, from Isuzu Kenya and Simba Colt.
If they wish, clients can also apply for a Ksh.500,000 working capital facility to ride out the crippling Covid-19 season. Other exciting perks is the 60 day grace period, a negotiated motor vehicle insurance cover and the longest, flexible re-payment periods in the market – 5 years.
I hope Mama Mboga gets wind of this deal.
Visit the nearest Co-op Bank branch, or click here, to learn more of this business deal.
October 22, 2020