Wednesday, March 4, was a slow day for Francis Kimani Njogu, a conductor under the Mataara Matatu Sacco plying the Thika-Nairobi route.
Struggling to fill up the 14-seater matatu with passengers at a stage along the Eastern Bypass, Njogu told his driver Steven Kiarie to get moving, as they would pick up passengers heading to Thika at different points along the way. Little did he know that this decision would lead to him trending on social media by the end of the day.
In a conversation with Kenyans.co.ke on Sunday, March 8, Njogu revealed that a heavily expectant lady was among those who boarded the matatu at Ruiru.
"She told me she was heading towards Kenyatta Road in Thika town, by this point the matatu was almost full," Njogu recalled.Francis Mwangi Njogu (in maroon shirt) and driver Steven Kiarie (in blue uniform) pose after helping a mother deliver in Kimbo area along the Thika Superhighway on Thursday, February 5
The trip was going smoothly until the woman's water broke under a bridge in Ruiru, sparking panic.
"She started screaming so loudly at a bridge in Ruiru. I told my driver to stop, he asked me what's going on?
"The woman couldn't stop screaming and the matatu was full of men who looked very scared. I tried to calm her down but she kept screaming.
"The driver stopped the car for a while. We were near Spur Mall in Ruiru, I knew there wasn't a hospital around that area so I told the driver to head towards Kimbo where we could get a hospital.
"The woman was seated in the row of seats right in front of the backseat. She was strong and kept pushing, the baby was delivered while we watched. The men in the matatu looked so shocked," he revealed.
Njogu helped hold the newborn to ensure the baby wasn't injured in the fast-moving vehicle as they looked for a hospital.
"There are metals in the car that could have hurt the child so we had to hold the baby. We rushed to Kimbo...we had to force our way through the jam, we told other drivers to give us the way and many of them did.
"We found a hospital in Kimbo and we looked for the doctors who came quickly and took the baby first, leaving the mother in the car. The mother later went in.
"We were so tired after all that we decided to close shop for the day and go home," he revealed.
Njogu revealed that someone took pictures of them outside the hospital and they soon found themselves trending on social media.
He explained that they were not looking for any recognition, noting that he particularly felt a responsibility to help as he had a wife and young child himself.
"I think it was someone from the media, they took a photo with their phone and that was when we started seeing the posts on social media,
"We just wanted to help. You know I also have a wife at home and my child is only seven months old," Njogu disclosed.
Touched, Kenyans flooded social media with congratulatory messages for the crew.
"Whatever you did to ensure the mother and the baby were safe, may God bless you and bless the work of your hands," wrote Veronica Nguru.
"Congratulations to this brave team. I've seen how men get scared when a woman goes into labour," Wanjiku Mbugua wrote.
Watch a short video of Njogu and Kiarie moments after leaving the baby at the hospital below:
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