I’m officially a commuter, again. It’s been a few years since I’ve had to endure the morning commute. The most I’ve had to deal with during my walks to school in the village was weaving through the congested cow traffic. Seriously.
But as of last week, having officially moved from one village to the next village over, I’m a commuter. This morning I walked out my front door with my travel mug of coffee, went out the gate, and waited for a ride to the next village over. It reminded me of my semester living in Washington, DC, oddly enough. There, I left my apartment and either walked 2 blocks to the metro, or took a shuttle to Union Station to catch the bus. Usually I took the bus because it was half the price, although much longer timewise.
Really, nothing about my new morning commute should remind me of commuting in the capital of the Good Ole US of A. I stood on the dusty sidewalk along the tarred road, greeting learners on their walk to school. I watched a cow cause a traffic jam as I waited about 15 minutes for a junky bush taxi to come by, then hopped on for the short ride. I passed my 7 rand fare up to the driver when I hopped out, then walked across the road to the the Xitsavi centre. In DC, I waited alongside other interns, DC professionals, tourists, and homeless people at Union Station for the bus. The distance I rode (a few miles) was the same as I’m taking here, but it usually took an hour as we chugged through DC traffic. I usually read on my kindle during the ride, snatching up a seat if possible, but often standing. Ironically enough, my bus dropped me off outside the Peace Corps HQ, and I walked a block to my internship.
I am enjoying my new morning commute, as it gets me more visible in the community, and the taxi drivers will soon know who I am. And it’s nice to be in a more professional work setting than I have been the past two years. I’m sure some days I’ll hate my morning commute (rainy season, anyone?) or fail to have the correct change. But for now, it’s nice to be out and about so early in the morning, interacting with the community and learning how to navigate the taxi system in my new village. Believe it or not, it’s quite different than in my old village!