Friday, November 1, 2013

The Motor Runs Hot...

The motor under me is running hot.
There are twenty-eight people
And lots of luggage in the truck.
Underneath are my bad tires.
The brakes are unreliable.
Unfortunately I have no money,
And parts are difficult to get.
"Jesus is mine"
Is written on the vehicle,
For without Him I would not drive a single mile.
The people in the back are relying on me.
They trust me because they see the words:
"Jesus is mine."
I trust You!
First come the straight road
With little danger,
I can keep my eyes on the women,
Children and chickens in the village.
But soon the road begins to turn,
It goes up and down,
It jumps and dances,
This death-road to Kumasi.
Tractors carrying mahogany trunks drive
As if there were no right or left.
Kusami is the temptation
To take more people than we should.
Let's overcome it!
The road to Accra is another problem.
Truck drivers try to beat the record,
Although the road is poor
And has many holes
And there are many curves
Before we come to the hills.
And finally to Akwasim.
Passing large churches in every village,
I am reminded of you, and in reverence
I take off my hat.
Now downhill in second gear.

Taken from "And African Prayer Book", 
compiled by Bp. Desmond Tutu

Our main form of transportation here, in Tanzania, is a dala dala. This is the term for a 16 passenger van/bus that works like a city bus. These buses are often decorated with words and pictures. Some I’ve seen are like this: “King Jesus” or “Trust God” or “Ensured by mafia; you hit us, we hit you” or “Allah is the one.” Africans like color and d├ęcor, so having a clean white bus would just not be right! There have been times I could see the road under me, and the walls bursting. It’s not unusual to find 28 people in the vehicle. There was one time my sister sat between two fat people “Every time we went over a bump, I thought the sides were going to burst. The wall was literally moving.” One time we rode along and the door fell off. Then there’s also been the one’s we’ve ridden with fancy seats and purple lights inside. Riding a dala dala is an adventure in itself, and I love it!

One time my sister got in beside the driver. A passenger next to her said “You’re sitting on the motor.” She thought to herself “I don’t care…” Minutes later her seat was “burning up beneath me” and she moved to the seat over as soon as she could. The motor runs hot beneath me…

Oh, and the time someone put a load of oranges on, and they spilled all over. It smelled good. J
Then there was the time my two sisters were on a dala dala and an old, ugly guy proposed to them. It produced a great amount of laughter in the bus. He was drunk.

Once my whole family was riding home and the only dala dala available was an almost full one. There was two free seats in the middle isle. So we piled in…and there was a “pile of Wazungu down the middle.” It must have been funny because the lady in front of us couldn’t stop laughing, and neither could her children. (If you’ve ever seen My Big Fat Greek Wedding, then just think of someone from the Greek side…)
One Sunday morning two of my sisters and I were going to church alone on a dala dala. The first bus stop we made was full of young men…one jumped up and down in excitement, another jumped in the bus, and yet another would not stop blowing a whistle. Now, I don’t know how well you know Kat, but she despises whistles. Absolutely cannot stand them…and this guy came to her window, and blew the whistle in her ears. Ha!

On main highways there are speed bumps every 3 miles, so bumpety bump along, my friends!
There was also that one time we drove along a road in the midst of getting new gravel. There would be piles of gravel on one side for a mile and then suddenly the piles would be on the other side. It went on like this for several miles…that was a fun ride!

To give you an idea of the roads, Kat says “You want some thrill? Let’s go cross the road. It’s better than a roller coaster because there are no safety precautions; you just guess and go.” Or you could grab on to someone else’s hand as they cross. Yes, she (Kat) did that, to a complete stranger.

Our great fun on the African roads will be over soon. In just 1 ½ short weeks we will pack up, say our goodbyes, and fly away. This is going to be a hard transition to all of us. I think my heart is going to shatter. No more Davie (4 yrs. old)  at the door at 7am for chia and prayers. No more randomness on the walk to work each morning. No more tree ripened mangos. No more market days. No more dala dala rides. I don’t know if I will ever return to this lovely place, for I don’t know what God has in store for my life. But one thing I do know is this: that I have two homes now – Nyakato, Tanzania and Liberty, Kentucky. I am so blessed to have been here for 6 months of my life. Keep us in your prayers as we begin the trek home.

Next time…America! 

P.S. My Dad (and I) wrote a great post with lots of pictures HERE

1 comment:

  1. Sveta,
    I love your descriptions of the dala dalas. The last ride Daddy and I took, the front seat kept falling off. Dala dalas certainly are an interesting mode of transportation. - Mama