Saturday, January 30, 2010

At War

There is a gaggle pack pride group of bodaboda drivers who loiter around and play pool table right down the street from where I work. I pass them twice (at least) a day and always refuse their offers of "Tugende?" We go?

No. We don't go.

Sivuga bodaboda. Njagala okutambula buli lunaku. I don't ride bodaboda. I like to walk every day.

While I wish, every freaking day during my 45 minute walk to work and my 45 minute walk home, that I rode bodas, I can't. It's against Peace Corps policy for volunteers to ride motorcycles. Too dangerous (says Peace Corps). From what I understand, it's Peace Corps policy worldwide that volunteers are not allowed to ride bodas. In the past, like when our country director Ted Mooney served, volunteers were issued their own motorcycles, but no longer. Too many volunteer deaths lead to a worldwide ban on motorcycles. So I walk. A lot. Everywhere.

The boda drivers in town have certainly noticed. While they've slowly started to realize that I don't take bodas, they now pester me about my "fear" of them.

"Why do you fear them?"

"You don't know how to ride boda?"


The other day my co-workers went out for lunch because the girl who cooks didn't come to work that day. As we walked past the group of boda guys my supervisor overheard them talking.

Supervisor: *laughing*
Me: What?
Supervisor: The boda drivers. Did you hear what they said?
Me: No. What'd they say?
Supervisor: They said you've launched a war against them. They're trying to figure out what they did.
Me: Oh.

So apparently I'm At War. Never knew.

I'm determined to be nicer to the boda guys from now on, even though they make me so very angry during each encounter. The harassment female volunteers get from boda guys is intense. Kissy-kissy noises, whistles, "hey sexy momma," yelling at me in a weirdly high-pitched voice "Muzungu we go?". There's no end to the harassment from boda guys every day. They find immense pleasure in making white girls uncomfortable. And they do it well.

I guess that's all on that subject for now.

I'm going to post some pictures from Christmas now. They're in Reverse Order because I uploaded them wrong. So you can start from the bottom and work your way up and it'll probably be more right, time-wise.

My Christmas was spent in a small town about 40k from me at an orphanage. There's a Peace Corps volunteer that works at the orphanage and school who invited anyone who wanted to to spend the holiday with the kiddos. It was a nice way to spend my first Christmas away from home. We made dinner the night before and a Christmas lunch of chicken, meat, rice, beans, spaghetti, irish potatoes, matooke, a bean/maize salad (really good), some type of slaw, and other stuff I've forgotten about.


Jenna said...

Actually, I think they can in Cameroon. I'm not sure if its just the CD there, or if its because its the only real source of transportation or something. But I've seen a youtube vid of 2 volunteers in Cameroon on a motorcycle/moped thing, and read a blog where a girl there is regularly on it

S. said...

I think you're right. They have to make exceptions through the PC Washington office and apparently it's a bit of a pain...

Enrique said...

Hmmm, so I guess bicycles are pretty hard to ride on that kind of terrain?

S. said...

Enrique - It's not the terrain that's the hard part; you can get used to the hills and rocks. It's a lot like mountain biking really. It's the other drivers on the road that are the dangerous part. They absolutely do not care if they hit you, run you off the road, etc. They play chicken with you when you're riding your bike, they purposely run you off the road and into the gravel. In my opinion, my town is too large for me to ride a bike to work every day. I have to cross a pretty busy street and I know that it would be I don't really ride my bike much. Other volunteers in more rural places do a lot. I have several friends who ride 20-30kilometers per day just to do their work visiting communities!

Kristy said...

It sounds like you had a good Christmas :), and I hope the "war" between you and the drivers gets better. And I do have one question, why was someone putting eyeshadow on the boys faces in one of your pictures? just for fun?

S. said...

Kristy -

Yeah it was just for fun! Someone found some old eye shadow and the litte guy wanted to put it on. My friend started, but some Ugandan guy took over and was really enthusiastic about it! haha