Saturday, July 16, 2011

I come in Peace, I leave in Pieces

Swazi transportation:

The main form of transportation in Swaziland is by iKhumbi or Khumbi for short (Koom-bee).  A khumbi is a 15-passenger van that if it can get away with it, will hold as many as can fit, which can be about 20.  They get a lot of use, so they aren’t glamorous by any means, you are usually covered in dust by the time you reach your destination, and the driver usually has the radio blasting, but it gets you from point A to point B.  The best part is when you want to stop you have to scream over the music “Stesh” (Staysh).  However, the music is always of quality.  This morning we got 90’s boy bands!!  Nothing like a little BSB to start your day.  Each Khumbi will usually have a great name that is painted on the front; some of my favorites are “Ice Angle,” “Sweet Chaco,” and “I Love You.”  Khumbies run on Swazi time, which should have the slogan “hurry up and wait.”  Swazi’s sense of time is planning to meet at this time and then being 20 minutes late.  You can spend a lot of time waiting for the Khumbi to come, but depending on where your stesh (stop) is you might have something fun to watch.  In the morning when waiting for the khumbi to go to training I get to watch the cattle parade, as all the cows get herded down to the dip tank.  So here is my funny khumbi story…

The past two days I have taken the Khumbi home at the same time as a man in my village who I found is fond of the bottle.  We had an interesting convo the first day, however it was our second encounter that earns this man, and his brother, a mention on my blog.  On our way out of town he yelled to the driver and asked him to stop.  So we did and my “friend” promised he would take no longer then 2 minutes as he jumped out, ran across the road and into the pub.  He came back within 2 minutes, good for his word, with a beer, which he drank on the ride home.  “Happy hour?” I wondered.  His little brother was seated in between us and I thought he was napping but then out of nowhere he woke up and declared, “I come in Peace, and leave in Pieces,” and then passed back out.

Never a dull moment here in the Kingdom!

Have no fear, I may have come in peace, but I am not in pieces yet!

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