“Interacting” Traffic

Thought that I would share an interesting observation that a matatu driver in Nairobi told me the other day.  I was driving the big bus in the city picking up a load of fifty students to bring back to RVA.  I chose to take a route that I knew would be either the best decision I could make or the worst decision because of traffic.  Well it turned out that this time was the worst decision and we ended up sitting in traffic for a very long time.  Since I was in the bus I could see what was happening ahead of us.  Cars and trucks of every size and description were in utter chaos pointing in every direction.  Some trying to turn around even in the melee.  Some trying to pass, other just as stalled vehicles as them, to gain an advantage.  Here I was in a sixty foot bus with no choice but to wait it out.  As we sat in the gridlock I decided to talk to a few fellow drivers.  Some drivers just shrugged their shoulders and said “This is Kenya”.  While I did not particularly agree that causing a huge traffic jam was just a Kenyan thing I asked one driver what was going on.  His response was that the drivers were “interacting” while making hand gestures going in many different directions.  This was the best response that I could ever think of and it actually made me think differently of my predicament.  What if we were just interacting?  How would my interaction be different than those around me.  Would I be selfish and cut in front of another car like many others were doing or would I be patient and wait for my turn?  I had to admit that I had been impatient and used the awesomely loud horn that is equipped on the bus a little too zealously to express my impatience with other drivers who were driving in ways that were against the rules of the road and put me in a position of having to avoid them.

Finally, after waiting a long time several guys saw that we were a big vehicle and they started directing traffic as best that they could so that we could make our way out of the mess of vehicles.  Sometimes it took having to barely get by cars with very little room to spare on both sides of the bus but they came out and helped us through.  God did provide a way for us not to have to sit there all night and it took a little prompting as well with a seemingly impossible traffic jam to show that he is still in control and I still had another lesson to learn..

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