The estate along Thika Superhighway was a dreaded home for criminals and illicit brews that whenever matatus dropped passengers there they cautioned them.
In 1990s when people started inhabiting this area insecurity creeped in and every time matatus operators dropped passengers they told them “Witeithie” (help yourself).
“Mugging was executed in daylight. Chang’aa was brewed and all manner of thugs resided here. Police feared this place and whenever there was crackdown items stolen in Thika and Nairobi were discovered here” recalls Johnson Kamau, a resident.
Before construction of Thika Superhighway Witeithie was top a slope that was partially pulled down. The slope gave thugs vantage point to monitor preys and lay ambush.
“Matatus operators dreaded to drop their passengers here at night. They felt remorseful to hear the person they dropped there was robbed, harmed or even killed and dumped in an abandoned dam a short distance from the highway” says Geoffrey Mwangi, a resident.
The caution “Help Yourself” gave the estate the current name but it’s not until early 2000s land owners started putting up homes and rental apartments. And after completion of Thika road in 2012 transformed it into a busy area and “bedroom” for Thika, Juja and Nairobi workers.
“It is now safe and conducive for business and residency. Thika and Nairobi sex workers stay here and you know sex workers do not live in starved areas. The Witeithie we have now is help yourself succeed and not that of the past” says Kennedy Kariuki, a bodaboda operator.
So has the estate grown that matatu operators have a sacco serving the seven kilometre Thika-Witeithie stretch.