Rule no. 1 to Survive Living in Africa: Panic Slowly

Early morning in Dar es Salaam. The traffic is a horrifying mess.

panic 1

We are on the way to the airport with a  flight to catch.  Cars, buses, taxis, motorbikes and pedestrians all follow their own rules for using the roads. Add to this mix slow moving road repair vehicles and roads under construction and the result is organised  chaos.

Then our taxi driver calmly  announces, he has  a problem with his car and will have to pull over, which he does without any further ado. There we are in the middle of traffic with two middle aged tourists pushing the taxi onto the curb while the ladies watch giggling nervously from the side.

Panic 2 (2)

In no time Kes the taxi driver organised another taxi to take us the rest of the way to the airport. Our  baggage is   hastily transferred to the other vehicle and everyone bundled into the back of the car.

We join the chaos again.
Not without any problems though as we soon find out. This time the problem is a lack of fuel which the driver solves by switching off the car at every red robot or stop in the traffic. With lots of prayers and nervous checking of watches we at last reach the airport only to find that our flight on a local airline has been delayed by two hours!

Two weeks later we are back in Dar es Salaam. This time we are planning a shopping trip to the local kitenge and kanga ducas ( small shops selling  colourful locally produced materials ). As it is situated in the middle of town my daughter said we should rather take a taxi than driving ourselves.

Kes the taxi driver is phoned and he arrives right on time.

Excitedly we set out on our shopping trip only to hear again there is a problem with the car. This time we stop on the  corner of an open lot in the city, with steam and a greenish fluid exploding out of the engine!

Panic 2

That is when my daughter tells us  to ” panic slowly ” the no 1 rule to survive living in an African city.

Resigned to waiting there, I look around me and see a vendor selling fresh fruit and another dispensing  chai and chapattis  ( tea with a local kind of pancake or flatbread ) People are sitting around chatting and drinking tea peacefully.

Not to be left out we  buy some of the fresh fruit and I took these photos with permission of the vendor. After which we again transfer to another taxi to continue our shopping excursion.

panic 7

vrugte 1

panic 6

Now back in South Africa I remind myself every morning as I drive to work and taxis and buses frustrate me: