At the Kajiado town stage, a beehive of activities is taking place with touts from different matatus dashing hither and thither calling out to passengers.
Among them is a 40-year-old Maasai woman, Alice Mosonik who is standing beside a 12-seater matatu and like her male colleagues, she beckons passengers heading to Nairobi to board her matatu.
At her beckoning, several passengers approach the matatu and board it. Some with shock while some are smiling from ear to ear. Mzee Letura William, one of the passengers, immediately starts encouraging her as he boards the matatu.
“I was a member of different chamas and took several loans with them which totaled Sh300, 000. I banked with the Family Bank, which gave me a loan to buy my own matatu,” narrates Mosonik.
She adds that she initially worked in the market till she met the late Joyce Kamau, a female matatu driver who encouraged her to pursue matatu business as it is more profitable.
Mosonik resorted to work as a tout in her own matatu due to dishonesty from the various touts she employed who scammed her of daily proceeds. The mother of four, says that her husband is her biggest motivator.
She reveals that he usually wakes her up at 3am to ensure that she reports to work on time.
“After I have left, he prepares our children for school and ensures everything is set at home before he also proceeds to his work place,” adds Mosonik.
On the challenges she encounters in the male dominated field, she says that several people usually discourage her saying that her place is on the domestic front but she never gives up as she relies on God for strength.
Spending time with her family is also a big challenge as she has to report to work early before they are up and return home late when they’re already asleep.
Sometimes the Naekana Sacco which her matatu is affiliated to sends her to Oloitoktok, Namanga and Nairobi which are far off from her home.
From the matatu proceeds, Mosonik has been able to fend for her family’s daily upkeep and to pay for her children’s school fees.
“I do not despise my work as it is God’s gift to me. Women should embrace all kinds of work provided it is legitimate rather than depending on men,” remarks Mosonik.
Motivated by her efforts, Mzee Letura encouraged her to continue working hard.
“Most of the Maa men have resorted to selling land and spending the money extravagantly in towns leaving women to fend for themselves and their children. It is good that Maa women have started undertaking all kinds of jobs. Very soon, we will also have Maa women leading as county governors as they are really hard working,” Letura said.
By Diana Meneto