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Rosemary Wanja: Meet 72-Year-Old Former ‘Kanjo’ Employee Aspiring To Be An Uber Driver

Rosemary Wanja, former Nairobi City Council driver PHOTO: The Nation

Rosemary Wanja is not your average granny, she is a 72-year-old seasoned driver who has dominated the highways for three decades, and even in retirement, she still has a lot left in the tank.

Her career began in the defunct Nairobi City Council where she was trained and employed as a driver in the Department of Public Health in the 1980s.

The job came with its perks, leading her to travel and drive in foreign countries and throughout her 29-year career(1982-2011), she became a pro driver, learning how to handle both left-hand and right-hand drive vehicles.

“I’m exposed. I know how to drive in countries like the US,” she said in an interview with the Nation.

She proceeded to retire, but she felt that her time on the road was not over yet, and wished to get back, this time as an Uber driver.

“The fact that I’m retired does not mean I’m tired. I’m still strong and very ready to work. If I get a job as an Uber driver, I’ll gladly do it and my customers will enjoy my rides,” she assured.

After her retirement, she received a gratuity that enabled her to purchase a parcel of land, but not enough to facilitate putting up her house, a dream that she always had since her childhood.

“I desperately need money to finish my house,” she said, adding that she currently lives in a rental house in Nairobi.

Life in the city is expensive, and she survives on miscellaneous gigs such as cooking pilau at weddings, parties, and church or women’s group meetings to cater to expenses like rent. She also sells woven table mats and baskets. She dreams of being self-sufficient while she is still capable, and eventually save enough to finish her house.

“I’m still energetic. But soon I’ll not have the energy to work and that’s why I’m utilising my skills to earn and save so that I can finish building my house,” she says.

“I’d save the rent I’m currently paying to sustain myself since I don’t want to depend on my children. They also have their own needs. I don’t want to be a bother to them.” Wanja stated.

The former wheelwoman expressed that the elderly in society are often discriminated against due to their age and are deemed useless and unproductive despite their capabilities.

She argued that in some instances, elderly women sometimes face economic exploitation despite deserving fair pay equivalent to the value of their work.

“Being elderly does not mean our professional skills diminish. The experience we have meets the standards of a pay equivalent to the services rendered,” she noted.

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