Monday, February 13, 2012

February 14, 2012 7:30 AM--Transportation

Transportation can prove to be a big challenge in this country.  There are a few different modes of transport but the most commonly used ones are buses and taxis. 

Buses are usually used for long distances.  So if I was going from Kampala to Mbarara, I would take a bus.  The one good thing about buses (at least compared to taxis) is that you pay for a seat and only you sit in that seat.  This may seem obvious, but if you ever take a taxi in this country you will realize that it’s not.  Even though you get your own seat, the seats are not nearly big enough for the average person.  This is coming from me and anyone who knows me knows I’m not the biggest person (despite the weight I may have put on since I got here).  You end up finding yourself sitting butt to butt with the person next to you, whether you want to or not. 

Taxis, on the other hand, will cram as many people as they can in to it.  There are two different kinds of taxis.  There are Matatoos and there are car taxis.  Matatoos are kind of like Volkswagen buses.  They are made to sit 14 passengers, but they usually squeeze in at least 20-25.  So needless to say, you never get your own seat.  Car taxis are usually a car like a Toyota corolla (not a very big car) and in those they can squeeze up to 14 or 15 people.  Sometimes they even put more than one person in the driver’s seat.

I’ve found that Ugandans seem way too used to squeezing into vehicles, because sometimes even when a vehicle is not full, they might sit really close to you.  They don’t seem to have a need for personal space.

Children usually travel for free.  This sometimes proves to be a big problem.  The caveat is that they have to not take up a seat.  Although especially in the way you have to travel here, you can’t just pretend that your kids don’t take up any space.  Sometimes you will see a kid sitting on their parents lap when they are way too old to do so.  So if you are sitting next to them odds are they are taking up part of your seat as well.  On a bus this is particularly annoying because you paid for one seat but you don’t necessarily get to use the full seat.  Another place they will put kids is on the floor.  In America this would be considered child abuse.  The floors are not the cleanest thing (sometimes you may even see a roach or two on a bus or taxi).  I’ve seen kids sleeping under bus seats and in the isle.  This is a problem because they can take up your precious foot room.  I don’t think Ugandans understand that you can’t pretend like their 456332 kids don’t take up any space. 

1 comment:

  1. Wow!!! Insightful, integrety and real. I find it increasingly difficault to trust the media. People like you and your brillant blog give balance to people that care enough to want to search for the truth!! Thank you for sharing greetings from Australia. :)