Everyday on my way to drop my daughter off at daycare, we drive by a particular spot that has wreaths of flowers placed, the flowers have been there for the last almost two years I have used that road, they are laid there in memory of someone who lost their life on that road, come rain, sun, changing seasons the flowers are always there. I once asked if they are placed there by family members and someone explained to me that they were placed by a group called mothers against drunken driving (MADD) this is an organization formed by mothers who have lost someone due to drunken driving. Where I live this group has pushed for so many reforms that charges for a DWI (Driving While Intoxicated) have become so serious. Every time I see these flowers I get flashbacks of drunk driving back home, I know of several areas that are known as ”black-spots’ due to the number of people who have lost their lives, so many young people get into accidents every weekend on this particular spots and I wonder if we had some type of memorial like flowers or pictures or something placed in these areas, if perhaps it could help reduce the number of accidents.
If their is one law that always confuses me when I am driving, its the stopping for a school bus flashing a stop sign. When a school bus is stopping to pick or drop kids, all cars on either side of the road are supposed to stop until the school bus starts moving again. Sometimes I see a school bus that has stopped on the side of the road and I stop, only to realize its not flashing a stop sign, it confuses me so much, and when I stop I get a flashback of when my husband and I were dating back in Kenya, I remember we were walking to his house one afternoon, and then he looked at his watch and he exclaimed, ”oh No” I don’t like being caught on this road at this hour because the school bus is a bout to come by and it leaves a cloud of dust as it fly’s by. No sooner had he finished saying this, the school bus came by, it was speeding so fast that all you could see was a cloud of dust, so we all took our places squeezing ourselves at the doors of the shops on the sides of the road shutting our eyes tight, and so did everyone else walking by, once the bus was gone and the dust settled we went back to what we were doing, and as soon as the bus stopped to drop off some kids, their was a car behind it honking, upset about the interruption. Lesson, isn’t it all of our responsibility to ensure the safety of our kids, granted when you are so accustomed to something you don’t notice it, but society at large should look out for kids, by standers should complain about drivers who endanger children’s lives and fellow motorist should show some consideration for public transportation dropping off people. It may not be the law but we could learn from exposure.
Before I left Kenya I could count in one hand how many kids I had seen using a car-seat, it wasn’t the norm for kids to use them and they were used by what I would consider the few elite, fast forward to today and its the opposite. I only see kids in car-seats now as its the law here, however every so often when I am looking at photos posted by my friends on Facebook in Kenya I will see a photo of a child sitting in the car with no car seat or even on the passenger seat of a car, and because it never happens around me it really stands out to me. It looks very weird and awkward but I know it wouldn’t had I never left home. Now knowing how much car-seats save lives, I believe they should be made a must in Kenya too, they are probably expensive now since the demand might not be so high, but am sure if legally people are required to use them the price would come down.
Teaching my daughter how to ride her tricycle at the playground, I realize all the kids around us who are riding bikes were all wearing helmets. I have never thought of having to use a helmet when riding a bike, since we never used them, however now I know to buy one, lesson learned.
At the end of the day, ignorance is not a good defense. If their is one advantage of traveling and being exposed to different people and lifestyles is the sharing of ideas and knowledge. I realize that having systems that work is not impossible, we come from Kenya to this foreign land with so many laws, rules and regulations and we abide by them. Which means we are capable of abiding by rules, if only we have consequences for not following. Granted the system here is also broken in its own way, too many rules leads to more chances of breaking them and being on the wrong side of the law can happen so easily and from my experience and observation it is not a country of second chances, but for today I would like to share the good things I believe we could implement in our country, things that would help save and enrich peoples lives.
It sure does feel good to know if you call the police they will not respond by saying that they have no transportation to get to you, if you call the fire department they will not run out of water, that power outages are rare if at all, that I can drive home with my daughter at 1am and not have to keep looking at the rare view mirror to make sure no one is following us. Basically, human life is upheld and precious. These are things all humans deserve, these are things we should demand.