Thursday, December 13, 2007

Fighting for their rights

The minibus drivers are on strike today. They are T.O.ed, man, let me tell you. Why? Because the government has passed a law stating that the drivers may only squeeze four people into each row, for a maximum of some 16 passengers.

Now keep in mind that the minibuses of which I speak are typically the same size as your average family minivan, only much, much older. So 16 passengers may seem reasonable. However, if you've ever been in a minibus, you'll know that the driver wants to pack as many paying customers in as possible, and 24 people in a van is not out of the ordinary. (Many of those people haven't bathed in a good while, either, since few people have piped water in their homes). leading to a rather unsafe and unhygeinic commute.

It's strange to go out on the road and see no dingy white vans careening dangerously around corners, or stopping suddenly in the middle of the road to drop off a passenger. Our staff were all late to the office this morning, as the competition for a ride is fierce. Big flat-bed trucks are taking advantage of the opportunity for some quick cash and have taken up the public transport mantle for now, so that is how most of our staff got to work today - looking slightly wind-blown and wide-eyed.

In other news, Malawi has hit the big time. It made the New York Times' list of "Places to Go in 2008." I feel so fashionable and of-the-moment. Here's the bit on Malawi:

Blame Madonna. Safarigoers tended to overlook Malawi, but that has changed since she began her effort to adopt a 1-year-old boy from this tiny African country that lies within the Great Rift Valley. Next July, the luxury lodge Pumulani ( is set to open 10 villas on spectacular Lake Malawi, home to rare cichlids and pied kingfishers.


Miriam said...

I feel so ahead of the times! Our family seems to have already clued in to the fantastic travel options in Malawi!