Monday, December 22, 2014

A Mini-Bus Tale

I had to make a trip to the Boma today. I'd been putting it off since I got back, but today it had to be done. So of course as I was leaving it gets cloudy and I hear thunder. I grabbed my rain jacket and headed out the door.

Drops started falling while I walked. I saw a mini-bus go by, but I hadn't reached the main road yet. When I got to the Tarmac, the mini-bus had stopped at the staging area. It was pretty far away, so I would have to run to catch it, and I still might have missed it. So I decided to let it go and wait for the next one. That was my first mistake.

There were only a few raindrops, so I decided to walk and catch a mini-bus further up the road. Otherwise I would just be standing there in full view of the crowded market while I waited in the rain. So I started walking. Second mistake.

After about ten minutes a mini-bus approached, but then flashed his lights. Okay, full. He drove on. I kept walking. Another mini-bus went by. And another. What was going on? Why were they all full today? The rain picked up a bit. More thunder. I kept walking. There had to be another mini-bus coming soon, right?

A guy on a bike came up and asked me where I was going. It annoys me when perfect strangers ask me where I am headed, so I was vague. Then he offered me a ride. I looked and saw his bike taxi plate. But all the way to the Boma? No way! That seemed too far and too hilly for a bike taxi. I had stuff to do today. So I let him go. Third mistake.

I walked and walked. Two more mini-buses went by. I started to get desperate. I didn't have all day for this trip, and it might start pouring any second. I tried to hitch a ride from a car going by. They didn't stop. I heard a vehicle coming up. It was a matola (truck) with people in the back. The engine cut off, and the people had to hop out and push it a bit to get it going. I let it go by. I wasn't that desperate.  That wasn't a mistake though. I saw them up the road pushing it again a few minutes later.

Finally after about 45 minutes of walking a mini-bus stopped. I got in the first row with three other people. We drove about two minutes and then picked up two more passengers. A woman jumped in my row, so the conductor squeezed himself in the space between the door and the seats. We drove another minute, then pulled over. The conductor returned my money and said he couldn't take me any further because there was a traffic stop up ahead. They had too many people and would be fined, so me and two other ladies were booted out. Luckily another mini-bus rolled up and we got in. I reached the Boma five minutes later.

I ran my errands, caught a bike taxi to the next village, bought a new pair of flip flops to replace my broken ones, along with a bunch of bananas, then it was time to head home.

I sized up the three mini-buses waiting. The first one had the most people, so it would leave the soonest. I crawled in after checking the price with the conductor... and saw one of the teachers from my school! So we had a nice chat as we rode back to the village together.

It was feeling pretty bleak for a while there, and I seriously considered turning around a few times. But I did what I had to do, I got to see a few more villages, and the view of the mountains was beautiful. I'm not sure what the moral to my tale is. "Never let the first mini-bus go by"? Or maybe "If you hear thunder, go home?" But it all worked out in the end.

How about this: Never give up

1 comment:

  1. Well, at the very least, at least you got your exercise for the day!!