anything for a ride

people get around here any way they can, including me. VSO doesn’t exactly provide land rovers like a lot of other NGOs do and so i usually cram myself in a taxi-bus (more bus than taxi) or walk to where i need to go. if there’s no bus or i’m in a rush i’ll fork out for a moto or even a bicycle with a passenger seat in back and lots of ribbons.

moto with passenger with ribbons taxi-bus (seats 20)  

which is why it’s important to make friends with People With Cars, like the englishman who took us to nyungwe forest last march or the belgian doctor who’ll stop by on his way to the lake to pick us up, or sarah’s boyfriend douglas who took us to akagera national park and a couple times to the beach in the back of his pick-up. i’ve even managed to use my winning personality to hitch a ride on occasion, like last week when we climbed in a banana truck-bed for the ten-minute dirt-road (read: bumpy) ride to cathryn’s.

but rwandans are way better at this than me. the other day our bus ticket-taken tried to catch a ride on our already-max-capacity 2-hour express-bus to kibuye. first we saw him take our tickets in kigali, then again arguing with the driver at the international bus station outside of town, then in gitarama an hour away running down the road flailing his arms for us to stop. this time the driver let him in, only to sit on the lap of a businessman (who hardly batted an eye).

30 min further down the road we stopped to ask a pedestrian something (are we asking for directions? there’s only one road!), continued on, stopped again to talk to a guy on a bike. the guy started pedaling as fast as he could up the hill and we followed (the express-bus is now following a bicycle- wonderful), pulled ahead, stopped, let the ticket-taker out, who kicked the biker to the back-seat and pedaled them both of the hill. curious.

the bus continued sans ticket-taker to a police checkpoint a way’s on. the rpd are uber-strict about vehicle occupancy and the policeman took a Long Hard Look at the older-than-a-kid kid on a lady’s lap before letting us pass. around the corner and out of sight we took a pit-stop where sara and i were shown off to passers-by (look what’s behind window number three! not one, but TWO muzungus! touch them, shake their hands if you like, pull their finger). while we were stopped the ticket-taker on the bike caught up to us (panting and sweating), hopped back onto the businessman’s lap and off we went. sara and i finally put it together- he’d been dodging the police.


~ by aliciawolcott on August 1, 2007.

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