The story of Ruth Chelimo, a 27 year old who steers Matatu in Eldoret, is a cocktail of resilience and determine. Through her life, Chelimo has worn many hats, with each acting as a stepping stones in her bid to carve out a life for herself and family.
One of the major challenges Chelimo had to encounter has lack of school fees, which made her educational journey to end prematurely.
Determined to succeed, Ruth Chelimo dug her feet’s into the world of work. She ventured into various sectors that spanned from a waitress, a construction worker and a tout.
In the myriads of occupation she undertook, each left here with unwavering determination to succeed.
Armed with resilience and determination, Ruth Chelimo ventured into the male-dominated Matatu sector.
She began as tout and through saving, she enrolled for driving lessons until she was issued a certificate. She is now Proudly plying the Eldoret-Huruma route.
A section of passengers who once enjoyed her ride lauded her for standing out in men’s world and exuding high level of proffesionalism.
One thing that stands out and set her apart from other drivers is her commitment to cleanliness and adhering uniform rules.
Working in an industry notorious for its rough and rowdy image, Chelimo found allies among her male colleagues who offered support and camaraderie. Her transition from a tout to a licensed matatu driver didn’t come easy, but her rare focus and commitment were recognized by her colleagues, including Njogu, her conductor.
“She came here as a tout but she has been able to be licensed as a driver ahead of me because of rare focus and commitment to achieve her desires in whatever she does,” recounted Njogu, the conductor of the matatu she drives.
Chelimo’s daily schedule, starting at 5 pm and concluding around 10 pm.
Like many Women who are in men-dominated sectors, Ruth Chelimo faces a fair share of challenges especially from passengers. His male colleagues have however been very instrumental in creating a conducive working environment for her, defying the stereotypes associated with the matatu industry.
In some instances, some male passengers insist on paying directly through her phone number instead of provided pay bill, in a bid to make some romantic advances.
Furthermore, some passengers insist on sitting next to her in the front seat, behaving inappropriately by touching her.