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Truck Driver Wisdom

The sun is starting to set, I am in a town that is unknown to me. I know the next mini-bus is at least an hour away. I take my chances on a transport truck. I flag him down, typical Zambian style. My arm out, trying to look desperate. The transport slows, and I walk up to the door. I ask if they are going to Kabompo and might have room for one more. I get the knod from the driver and I am in. He asks how much I have, and I reply “not much”, with a smile. 10 pin,  which is the same as the mini bus. I agree, he agrees. We are off.

Beside me is a woman and her young child, asleep. There is also a man, he is chatty, asking me where I come from and what I am doing and of course if I am learning either Lavale or Lunda. I give him the run down of my language ability. He is mildly impressed as we laugh.

He has a plastic bag with him, I see he has his toothbrush and an old tin cup. The necessities’ of life he tells me, when he catches my eyes looking.

The road is a dangerous mixture of sand and gravel. Bumpy from overuse and big trucks– like this one. The driver is good, I feel safe.

It is always something to be so close to people, physically close. Our legs touching, her baby’s head grazing my shoulder.

I learn that the woman is 21, her birthday is September 5th, she has two children. The eldest is 5.

The sun dips lower in the sky, I am tired, and I just want to get home. The driver turns to me, he says “you must be very brave”. I laugh, “I am not sure I understand” I say.

He tells me that I am in a place I have never been before, in a country where people don’t speak like me, act like me, or even look like me. He says he would never go to Canada. He would never be brave enough; he has too much fear of unknown things and places.

I say “people are kind and this is the adventure.” It isn’t bravery. I tell him he is braver then me, he is brave because he also visits places unknown, he drives across the country. Into strange lands where he knows no one. He does it because he has to, because it is his adventure. It is his bravery that brings him to places to Kabompo. His adventure has a family counting on it, his adventure will always be bigger then mine.  His bravery will always mean more.

I say these words, and he smiles, he knows this true. Our adventures do not compare, and most importantly our bravery is not even measured in the same units.

We continue to talk about adventures–bumpy roads present in each. We speak of the people we have met and the breakdowns we have had.  It is a wonderfully long way back to Kabompo.

I ask to be dropped at the market, he tells me tomorrow he is driving to Chingola. Bad roads most of the way, weighed down with a load of maize.

As I hop down from the cab, the driver smiles and me he tells me to enjoy my adventure my reply to him is to do the same.

Categories: Uncategorized
  1. Brian
    July 2, 2010 at 5:47 pm

    Great post Ann! You have a knack for connecting with people.

    Happy adventuring!

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