Wednesday, November 6, 2013

November Photo Challenge - Transportation

Traffic here is crazy.

For starters, you drive on the left side of the road & the steering wheel is on the right side of the car. Opposite of what we're used to in America, which took some getting used to.

Another thing to get used to is the lack of traffic rules/laws. I'm not exactly sure there is a lack of  rules/laws, but more that people don't know them/don't abide by them. I've seen a couple of speed limit signs in the whole city. You're constantly passing others & being passed. There are Bjaji's (3 wheeled little taxis),  pikipikis (motorcycles) and bicycles all over the roads, weaving in and out of traffic, driving on the median, etc.

There is a main road by our house that's being worked on. It's a bit of an obstacle in getting to & from school, to the store, etc. It's created horrible traffic and trips that should take 10 minutes are taking an hour or more.

So, today I'm thankful for those crazy bjaji's that are all over the roads. Marc has found a guy named Junior who has become our go-to Bjaji driver. If we're in need, Marc sends him a text (using google translate since Junior speaks Swahili) & he's usually available. The other day Marc needed to get to a store, so instead of facing the traffic, he called Junior and it took no time at all! On Monday, Marc was home with the napping girls while I was coaching the swim team & instead of loading them up to come get me in the traffic, Isaac and I took a bjaji home.

While it can make me a bit nervous as you see them make some pretty daring & foolish moves at times, and there are certainly no safety features like seat belts or airbags, it's a fairly easy and cheap alternative to driving at times.

Most people don't even have the choice to drive - they have to take a daladala, pikipiki, bjaji or walk. It certainly tests my American sense of safety when I see little little kids on the back of a pikipiki  or see kids Isaac and Hope's age walking down the busy street with no parents. Things are different here. Independence comes earlier out of necessity. Having options is a privilege. But that's another post altogether. :)

We are very privileged to own a vehicle, and I am thankful for that today as well and try to be generous and gracious with it.

 





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