“Trust no one, only Allah!”                                         “Neema ya Mungu” (Grace of God)

“Papa Benedict XVI”     “Bwana ndiye Mchumgaji Wangu” (The Lord is My Shepherd)

“OBAMA!”                                                                          “MANCHESTER UNITED!”

As I mentioned in a previous blog, a “daladala” is a mini-bus that we use here as public transportation. To ride a daladala, simply walk up to any major road (depending where you live this could take 5 minutes or 50 minutes!) or highway and hold out your hand. Within minutes a worn-out bus covered in bright colors (and some remaining Chinese characters on the side showing you their origin) pulls off the road right at your feet. Next thing you know, you’re crammed inside with at least 15 others headed into town. I admire the operators of the daladala. It’s the epitome of teamwork. There’s a driver and a conductor. The driver drives (duh!) the daladala and the conductor hangs out of the sliding door window while scouting for potential customers, calls out the approaching bus stops for current customers all the while keep track of which customers in the daladala have paid and those that have not paid. Since we have an abundance of daladalas they also compete against each other for customers. In town, you always have at least 2 or 3 daladalas calling at you to ride with them. Most of these conductors and drivers are in their 20s and every single one of them is a character! It’s entertaining to see how a conductor acts toward and speaks with his driver. You never know what’s going to happen when you get on a daladala. Their character is passed on to their daladala as they each detail their vehicles (inside and out!)  with paint, stickers, horns, speaker systems and more. Consider this a Tanzanian edition of “Pimp my Ride.” Then there is the biggest tradition of writing proverbs or phrases on the back windows (and sometimes even the front window too.) Faith, Football (soccer), and Famous celebrities tend to be the most common decorations. It seems to me that they write on these windows what’s most important to them. The words and phrases above are examples of what I’ve found on daladalas.

Then that made me think (which usually means trouble…): If I were a conductor, what would my Daladala say?

Would it say something regarding my faith?
or…
Would it be the names of my family and friends?
or…
Would it say something about my addiction to travel?
or…
Would it mention things that I obsess over or list accomplishments that I have achieved?

What would my daladala say?
What would YOUR daladala say?

Where do you spend most of your time? What’s on your mind all day? God not only asks but rightly deserves to be the desire of our heart, the source of our strength and the will behind our actions. I want my daladala to speak of God’s love, peace and purpose. What about you?

What does your daladala say?

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