Thursday, July 24, 2008

my taxi driver embarrassed me today...

i've had the same taxi driver this whole week in dar. we met on the first day, at the blue pearl hotel in ubungu center where the tanzania met agency has their offices. he's a young guy, about my age, and i like him. generally, if you smile a lot, i like you.

since then, he's been sitting in the same place, at the same time (around noon), every day, waiting for me to finish my meetings.

wednesday we tried small talk - "where you from" ... "usa" ..... "america, is very powerful country". "which type of phone do you have... i need to get a card. my phone doesn't work here." .... "celtel... it is the best" ... "ok, that's what i will get then."

yesterday he gave me a discount b/c "i'm a friend". this morning, also, he arranged to meet me here at my hotel to pick me up in the morning - even though he lives on the other end of town, by the blue pearl hotel.

on the way home today, we talked about barack obama. "he will be very good for africa, and for my country."

we were stopped at a traffic jam/intersection.

outside, a man walked - well, hobbled - up to us. he was wearing knee pads, because he had no legs below his knees. in africa, there is no such thing as wheelchairs. (unless you can afford them, which, how could you if you have no legs and can't work?) immediately my friend, the driver, reaches into his ash tray and pulls out a 100Sh coin (about 10 cents) to hand to me to hand to the man. of course, i'm in stare-straight-ahead-and-ignore-him mode, as i've been taught by all the guidebooks. i handed him the coin, and we sped away. the situation humbled me.

No comments: