How I almost died in Dar es Salaam
I am a believer in experiencing new things. In fact, I am always pushing boundaries, jumping off cliffs and airplanes but I did not think a simple ride in a tuk tuk would make me meet my Maker sooner than I expected.
Those of you who have been to Dar es Salaam know that there is major traffic in the city.
A 10-minute trip will take you four hours.
Yes, Dar has worse traffic than Nairobi. Anyway, I digress.
My tuk tuk driver, Moses aka Ben 10 assured me that he get me to my hotel in one piece.
I was excited. This was going to be my first trip in a tuk tuk.
And so off we went, Ben 10 and I.
I was not comfortable in the contraption, but then again, I had no choice.
Meanwhile, Ben 10 regaled me with truly hilarious stories about his escapades, while weaving in and out of traffic like a maniac.
“Usijali Sister,” he told me when he saw how tightly my hand was wound up on the metal bar. “Haya maisha tumeyazoea.”
(Don’t worry Sister, we have gotten used to this life).
I do not know whether Ben 10 thought his words were comforting, but all they did was make me panic.
“I need to live through today,” I kept thinking in my head as Ben 10 sped through the many cars stuck in traffic.
“Wajua kuna wakati kulikuwa na lori driver aliyekuwa akidhani yeye ni shujaa,” Ben 10 continued while swerving recklessly,“Hiyo siku nami nikajiambia wacha tuone kati ya mimi dereva wa tuk tuk na yeye dereva wa lori nani shujaa.
(There was a time when a lorry driver thought he was the better driver of the two of us, so I decided I would show him who was better.)
“Nilimshinda,” Ben 10 told me proudly. “Nilipenya na nikamuacha nyuma.” (I beat him).
By this time, Ben 10 had put us between two trailers like a sandwich. Every time they moved, I felt the tuk tuk shake. Maybe that was my imagination.
My traffic hero then tried to go through a narrow space, almost making us topple over.
“Usijali sister,” he repeated.
It was the longest one hour ride I have ever been through.
I almost kissed the ground when we finally got to the hotel.
Ben 10 kept his promise. I got to the hotel in one piece.
The next time someone tells me to take a tuk tuk in Dar, I might want to sit through traffic, where I am assured of a bit of safety.
Or maybe Ben 10 shall come to the rescue again.
It will take me a long time to get into one of those things though. I almost died you know.
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