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Zanzibar Dala Dala Ride !

Discussion in 'Habari na Hoja mchanganyiko' started by Bikra, May 16, 2009.

  1. Bikra

    Bikra Senior Member

    May 16, 2009
    Joined: May 13, 2009
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    There's mud everywhere, but that's not uncommon. When it rains 10 times a day for about 20 minutes each - each enough to fill a glass if you put it outside, that tends to happen. It's not just mud; some mud, when you look at it, you think that you could probably just dive right into it and mud your way around like a slip-and-slide. This, however, is stank-nasty mud(technically speaking), and is filled with every piece of trash you can imagine. It wouldn't be so bad if these daladalas didn't keep driving around in it, but of course, that's also to be expected since this is the daladala stand, Darajani Zanzibar.

    The Bububu dala dala is number 502. Since they changed all the numbers, I've still been wondering where all the other 501 routes are on Zanzibar; there can't be more than 20-30 routes in total. I'm seemingly the first to get on, and as I was going to the dala dala at the end of the line(which is where the dala dala takes passengers), some random guy (Mpiga Debe) in the end told me, "Panda ile ya mbele." and keeps shouting (Ya kuondoka iyo, wenye Haraka"

    Ok, because am not in hurry, I guess I'll take the next one. I hop in, and wait for it to fill. A daladala holds 20 people, and they don't budge an inch until it's full. Full, in this instance, is a subjective term that is determined by the body sizes of the passengers and their packages, and how many can uncomfortably squeeze in.

    Eventually, it does fill. This lady with a missing eye is sitting next to me, and she keeps mumbling to herself that in general sort of freaks me out. Still, I just sit there just as cool as a cucumber. The reality is that lots of things freak me out, I just get better at not showing it. I even look right into that strange crater-like orifice on her face, smile, and say "Asalaam Alekuum." She smiles, says "Waalekuum Salaam."

    A dala leaving the dala dala stand isn't a pretty site. First of all, don't forget all that stuff about the mud. These dala dalas have been running now for years unknown into the past, and apparently nobody has ever decided to pave the stand. As it is, there are holes big enough for a small dala dala to half disappear into. The conductor(or, in swahili, "konda") jumps out running along with the truck and guides the driver around, while most people in the dala dala scream and giggle every time we hit a bump and mud flies everywhere.

    One lady gets jumpy right away, and she's yelling at the conductor. Sometimes, whenever the driver feels like it - or wants to avoid cops pulling overcrowded dala dalas over - he goes a different way than the normal route for the initial stretch. It still meets up at the right place for the first stop, but sometimes people aren't accustomed to this, or rarely come into town, and so get worried that they got on the wrong bus. This lady apparently hasn't had the experience yet and is worried she's being taken somewhere she doesn't want to go She shouts "Mwanipeleka wapi ?, Mi naenda bububu vo!. Nemwambia Mame Fatuma anisindikize lakini hetaka waona sasa Napotezwa, Wallahi mukinipoteza nawaitia Polisi".

    "Tulia mama, usijali, tutafika kule unapokwenda, tunazunguka tu," says the conductor. She then starts to mention where exactly she wants to go, which she doesn't seem certain is on the way. The conductor asks, "Unakwenda wapi?"

    She says, "Msikitini." Which isn't a very good response. There are alot of mosques in Zanzibar."Sasa, msikiti gani unataka?" queries the conductor. "Msikiti Tambua," she replies. "Subiri tu, utafika," assists the conductor.

    And now that everyone is settled, the passengers switch into travel mode, which means they stare. It's something I've gotten used to over time, especially since I've done quite a bit of travelling in country. When Tanzanians travel, they just stare. Almost as if they're waiting for something to happen, but sure it won't.

    The world just passes by. Men working on iron get blown past as the dala dala speeds up and slows down. Buildings half started or half finished. Cows and goats. Donkeys pulling carts. Occasionally, the conductor calls out somewhere to stop.

    "Mtoni?" "Mtoni wapo?" "Mtoni?"

    The dala goes on. People call out where they want to stop, and then shuffle their way to the back and jump off. Sometimes new people get on, and are always forced to wedge themselves into the most difficult spots near the front cab, in the corners where your knees always get pinched, Hahahahaha!.

    There's also always someone or other who doesn't want to pay the whole 350 shilling fee for riding the dala dala. 350 shillings is more expensive than in the mainland, where it's150 - 200 shillings. The conductor will at one point squeeze himself around the cab collecting money from everyone, with the exception of that one lady who gives him only 200 shillings, or only 250. There's always a short debate of the price of getting in the dala dala, and the discrepancy of what's in his hand. Almost always he gets his money, but sometimes, she's too crafty with her cash, and eventually leaves the dala being called names, while she tells the conductor how greedy he is. I'm sure she's still talking about him as the dala dala pulls away, because he's always still talking about her. She shouts "Watoto wa siku hizi hawana heshima hata kidogo, Aniadhirisha kwa shilingi Mia !, Inshaalah mungu atakulaani"

    Eventually I see the police station pass by, so I tell the conductor, "Kanisani." "Ok," he says. The dala dala squeels to a stop and I pull myself up from the people who were holding me securely in place, being packed in like sardines. I pick up my bag, hop out the back, and head down the hill to my house. Thats the end of Bikra Trip to Bububu with Funny Experience with Zanzibar Dala dalas !
  2. Kibunango

    Kibunango JF-Expert Member

    May 16, 2009
    Joined: Aug 29, 2006
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    Hii stori itakuwa ni ya zamani sana!, Pale Darajani siku hizi ni tambarare...
  3. Steve Dii

    Steve Dii JF-Expert Member

    May 16, 2009
    Joined: Jun 25, 2007
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    ... na "flying toilets" zimepungua?!! :)
  4. Kibunango

    Kibunango JF-Expert Member

    May 16, 2009
    Joined: Aug 29, 2006
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    Zimepungua sana, wengi wamepata elimu ya ustaarabu licha ya matatizo ya maji mara kwa mara.