Thursday, September 28, 2023

Esther Macharia: Why I quit my job at law firm to be Super Metro tout

Esther Macharia is a lady working as a matatu tout with, by far, Nairobi’s largest matatu Sacco, Super Metro. ‘Kazi ni Kazi’; ‘Life haina formula’, they say.

Esther is among the Kenyan lot of women operating as touts in Nairobi. She has worked with the matatu company for nearly 5 years.

But behind her face and work aspects, there is a story to tell. Macharia used to work at an office job in a law firm dealing with land and real estate concerns, but she quit.

“I have been with Super Metro for 4 years. Before working with the Sacco, I used to work in a law firm in the CBD as a secretary and a messenger,” she recalls.

From her job at the law firm, Macharia divulged that she’d earn a monthly wage of Sh. 15,000. She says this was on the lower end of her expectations.

“I was struggling to make ends meet, and I wanted a different type of hustle,” she added.

Then one day, she came across a lady working as a tout on one of the buses. Then, Macharia was 22 years old.

“I asked her if I would get a chance to work as a tout and she explained to me how to apply and the requirements needed,” Esther remembered.

And that is how she got into the business.

“Sh. 80, Sh. 80 tao,” she hawks at the Nairobi CBD terminal at Archives.

A few parking boys join her, hoping to get a quick Sh. 10 or Sh. 20 to buy cigarettes or a cheap drink at the end of the day.

Like any other business, Esther Macharia also faces challenges in the matatu business, particularly because she’s a woman.

Esther Macharia: Why I quit my job at law firm to be Super Metro tout

Macharia claims challenges include unpleasant commuters, males with ulterior agendas, and customers who troll her hustle. Other passengers try to lie and scam her.

“Some may be intoxicated and do not want to pay their fares. They’d look at you and despise you for being a woman, but I have learned to handle myself better,” she says.

“Some moody customers want to spoil your day. They’d want to pick brawls or woo you rudely,” Macharia adds.

Despite these hurdles, Esther Macharia smiles and continues serving the customers warmly, lest she loses her job.

“We have strict guidelines on engaging with our customers and respecting them as they allow us to serve them. You cannot be rude to a customer. You ought to understand when to let go of certain issues and how to handle others wisely,” she noted.

Esther Macharia was born and bred in Nakuru County. She attended Free Hall Primary School and two high schools, one being Flamingo High School.

She comes from a humble background and her parents to struggled to make ends meet. Albeit the financial obstructions, Macharia completed secondary education.

After high school, she enrolled for Information Technology at Rift Valley Institute and obtained a certificate in Microsoft Computer Packages.

“I really loved and yearned to go to college and still do, but I couldn’t afford to raise the fees,” she said.

Esther encourages the youth to be bold and do any job that’s available to them, particularly with the job crisis grappling the country. She adds that it doesn’t matter what people think of them.

“In high school, our teachers used to ask boys to study lest they become touts. But I learnt that as long as your work is legit, you are dedicated and respectful to others, then nothing else matters. Some say that only men can be touts,” she advised.

“For those seeking jobs, happiness starts with you. Don’t pick jobs. You can earn money from any kind of job. If you can’t find happiness at work, then where else can you find it?”

Bizna Offer

Connect With Us

Bizna Rate Card

Latest Stories

Related Stories