Wednesday, February 20, 2008

A Short Bus Ride

The bus arrived at the terminal about a half hour late, which in African time is not late. I made sure my little piece of luggage was in the cargo part of the bus before I got on and took my seat. The luggage claim tag was a piece of masking tape with my seat number “11” and “Moro” written on it. After about a half hour of riding I decided that I would make my way to the driver and tell him in my broken Swahili I wanted to be let out at the Lutheran Junior Seminary before town. I asked if that was okay. The driver seemed to know that place and the conductor was in on the conversation, so I consoled myself they wouldn’t forget me, they are professionals after all. (And the way they drive, you have to trust they know what they are doing and what the bus can do. It’s scary to watch no matter how accustomed to the way traffic is here.)

After about 2 and a half hours when I could see hills in the distance I leaned forward and started to watch for the school. After what seemed like ages of anticipation I saw us fly by the sign ELCT Lutheran Junior Seminary. “Wewe, bwana!” I called. The conductor and the driver did not hear me, but the passenger in front of me asked if I wanted their attention. “Ndiyo,” I nodded. So the man in front of me hissed loudly. The conductor turned around and as soon as he saw me he realized his mistake. He told the driver, but by then we were about 2 kilometers or more beyond the school. The conductor made his way back to me to tell me I could get a bus from town back to the school.

I was dismayed. How was I going to find a bus going back? And toting my rolling carry-on through the dusty roadsides. I was further frustrated when we turned off the main road. How would I find my way back? Pay attention, I told myself, good thing I wrote down those school contact numbers this morning. We can to a stop at the special Scandinavia Bus Stop. To my surprise there was another bus there waiting. I know only one bus left at the time we did. The conductor explained that this bus was going the other direction and would drop me at the school. “He won’t forget,” I asked. The conductor apologized and said it would be fine, they wouldn’t forget. Although the driver didn’t look happy with me. I went to buy something to eat, since I hadn’t had lunch. When I got on the bus, my carry-on was right up front ready to get off with me.

There is a moment of loneliness when you are dropped on a road side in Africa and you have never been there before. As the bus pulled away I said to myself, I hope they are expecting me. They were.

Here I am Janet. If I tell them Jan it becomes Jane. So even though I prefer Jan, here it’s Janet. I have already met several of the students, some here for just a few more days. Others for the next three months.

My room is small and simple. But one amazing thing: I’m close enough to the Common Room, which houses the internet cafĂ© to use my wireless from my room. Talk about handy! I didn’t even think I would have any access.

God is taking care of me. An older German man, Harold introduced himself at afternoon tea and told me he would give me all the news of the place, he’s been here a week and a half. I am exhausted. I hope I sleep well tonight.

Post Script: I have tried to post photos on this blog at several African locations - it's just not happening. However, I have just sent a few more photos to the Drop Shots site listed as Jan's photos on the right. Enjoy.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

I couldnt help smiling when reading about your trip to Morogoro.Typical tanzanian.Pole!I was a teacher at the language school for one year.