We got a free ride at GC2018, for speaking Swahili


Mike Okinyi (Citizen TV Sports Editor) Chris Mbaisi (The Star Sports Editor) Akram (Uber Driver), ...
Mike Okinyi (Citizen TV Sports Editor) Chris Mbaisi (The Star Sports Editor) Akram (Uber Driver), Philip Muchiri (Radio Citizen Sports Presenter) and David Kabiru (Inooro TV Cameraperson). PHOTO/Mike Okinyi)

In Summary

  • After a 26-hour journey from Nairobi through Doha and an overnight delay in Sidney, arrival in Gold Coast  with my fellow journalists is capped by a free Uber ride
  • We arrived in Gold Coast, Queensland's second state, early in the morning following a 6am flight from Sydney for the 21st edition of the Commonwealth Games

After a 26-hour journey from Nairobi through Doha and an overnight delay in Sidney, arrival in Gold Coast  with my fellow journalists is capped by a free Uber ride.

We arrived in Gold Coast, Queensland’s second state, early in the morning following a 6am flight from Sydney for the 21st edition of the Commonwealth Games.

The Local Organizing Committee (LOC) had organized transportation to the Press Centre for visiting journalists but we snubbed the offer in order to sort out our accommodation and hit the shower. That we did.

Led by Mike Okinyi (Citizen TV Sports Editor), David Kabiru (Inooro TV Cameraperson), we then decided to validate our press credentials at the Media Press Centre (MPC).

The MPC was only some three tram-train stops away from Surfers Paradise – Gold Coast’s seaside resort – which we settled on as our place residence for our entire stay.

Okinyi being a well travelled journalist was a smart guide, easily navigating us through the validation process in five minutes. We proceeded to the Media Hall where we met several foreign journalists.

After the acquaintance session, we got caught up in a lockdown of some sorts as officials blocked roads and advised residents to avoid driving through town in order to reduce traffic.

We opted to take the tram for the 10-minute ride back to Surfers Paradise from Broadbeach.

That was not to be; everyone in town is taking the tram back home so it is jam-packed. After a 30-minute wait Kabiru decided to find Uber transportation.

Minutes before the taxi transport arrived, a souped-up Mark X drove along and hooted to beckon the Kenyans standing across the tram station.

Wakenya hamjambo, mmekujia gold?” “(Greetings Kenyans, you’ve come for the gold?” the driver who introduced himself simply as Akram said.

I was the first to approach him.

Umejua aje sisi ni Wakenya,” “How could you tell we’re from Kenya,” I asked him.

He said he had overheard us converse in Swahili and from there we all chatted casually before he offered; “are you stranded?”

As we would discover Akram was actually an Uber driver so cancelled the other ride and hopped in to his.

Okinyi who sat at the front passenger seat was impressed by how expertly Akram weaved through the traffic snarl up and had openly acknowledged it.

“Wah! Boss good driving skills!”

Akram revealed he was a Matatu driver in Eastleigh for nine years before moving overseas to Australia.

“This explains why we’re here in 10 minutes,” I thought to myself as we alighted at Surfers Paradise.

He never charged us for the trip and now I have Akram’s number on my speed dial :).

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Story By Philip Muchiri
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