Sunday, November 27, 2011
This isn't in order with the rest of the pictures that are on here. It happens to be in a folder that was started shortly after I arrived in Kenya.
These carts, mkokoteni in Swahili, are everywhere. They are a very common way for small businesses to get goods for their kiosks and dukas from Mombasa to the bush.
This particular cart isn't loaded anywhere near as much as it could be. Sometimes one cart would be piled up 6 feet high with goods and it would take 5 or 6 men and boys to push the thing.
The best part of the cart pushers' day was in negotiating the two approach ramps to the ferry in Mombasa. To get down to the ferry, the cart would try to escape by way of gravity on the way down the steep concrete ramp, with the pushers all forcing the back of the cart down to drag the ground. The back of the cart is equipped with a skid brake made of pieces of tire that will stop the cart by friction in case the puller lets go of the pulling bars. Once across the ferry, the pushers and the puller work the cart across the ramp back and forth, adjusting the course of each pass so that the cart worked its way up hill a little at a time just like a sailboat tacking across the wind.
In the scheme of the local transportation system on the Coast, these carts are the first level used to move goods in large quantities.