In summary

  • Unemployment has pushed many into creative maneuvers and unorthodox out-of-the-box tactics to earn an extra coin
  • With the tough economy, putting food on the table has become an uphill task for many Kenyans. But being the entrepreneurial they, stop at nothing to make ends meet.

Unemployment has pushed many into creative maneuvers and unorthodox out-of-the-box tactics to earn an extra coin.

Forget the crooks who engage in illegal enterprises such as pick pocketing, ngeta (chokehold) artists who rob people at knife or gun point and con artists. There are some strange jobs Kenyans do to feed their families that would shock you.

1. Matatu fillers/ Kamageras

Forget the rough and noisy touts who get to persuade passengers. We have young men who fill up unoccupied matatus to create an impression the vehicle is full and just about to leave the stage.

You have probably heard a tout shout, “Wawili… wawili … wale wa haraka wa mwisho, only for you to get into the matatu and see some ‘passengers’ disembark one by one? Well, for gullible those are not commuters, but matatu fillers who get paid for that gesture.

They are paid between KshSh10 to Sh20 to ‘fill’ a matatu especially in the morning hours, They says business starts booming around midday when there are hardly any commuters.

“We become very instrumental around 10 o’clock to midday because there are very few people going to town around that time. Most drivers and touts become desperate for passengers around that time,” says Karis, who is married and a father of a nursery-going child.

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2. ‘Professional’ mourning

sobs and blow whistles, giving the funeral the heroic status.

Like real mourners, female professional mourners behave as though they have been overcome by emotions and break into dirges, writhe on the ground as if in pain for the loss, cursing the devil and grim reaper.

Their male counter parts, on the other hand, run all over with twigs, wailing like lunatics, with others hang on overloaded vehicles as they shout and honk.

For Luo Tribe, where a lot of premium is placed on an individual’s send off, Professional mourning is, however, still big business in rural outposts.

“If someone has to give his all by, say, rolling on the ground and even feigning fainting, you will part with even a Sh1,000 per hour,” said a boda boda rider who sought anonymity.

The rider says so rampant was this business at some point last year that there were bureaus with agents, camping outside mortuary to rent out mourners to families that seemed lonely.

3. Cuddlers for hire

At the Kenyan coast, they have taken the game a notch higher. There are young men who get hired by aging foreigners to not only satisfy their sexual needs, but to cuddle with them when they feel lonely.

4. ‘Hawker’s Whistle Blower’

While in the street,you’d hear someone blow the whistle,then hawkers will quickly collect their good and run to escape city askari.
By any chance it is not just a random whistles but some ’employed’ by hawkers to keep an eye for the hawkers during operation of kanjos

By Rodgers Oduor

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