Minibus Moments

Some of my most hilarious moments happen in minibuses. It’s about 45 kilometers from Agaro to Jimma, and I’ve made the trip dozens of times for trainings, on the way to Addis, or to meet up with other Peace Corps volunteers. It never fails on these trips, if I’m in the front seat, the driver will have something to say. Most recently, my driver thought it would be best for me if he played American music. He had two songs and played each one on repeat, as loud as he could, dancing as he drove. When we would stop, people on the street would call out to me, “Farenji! Where are you from?” Before I had a second to answer, the driver would respond, “She’s Ethiopian! Speak to her in Amharic, she doesn’t know English!” Then we would speed off singing, Where is the Love?

In another recent minibus experience, the driver and I were familiar with each other. We had had a short talk on another ride. He told me his name was Reagan, which is a strange name in Ethiopia. I asked him what it meant (names almost always have meaning here) and he said that his father just liked President Reagan. As his assistant was filling the seats, he insisted that the middle seat next to me remain open because I was his regular customer. (For anyone who has ever been packed in a minibus, this is a small gesture that makes a huge difference.) The driver would lose fare on the seat he left open.

As we were driving, we stopped near someone selling bananas. He asked if I needed any, because they were good quality. I did need some, and was glad to skip a trip to the market. Before I knew it he had purchased a kilo, and refused to take my payment. The cost was roughly the same as the minibus ride. He said my fare was enough.

When we got to Agaro, I said thank you and good-bye, and left with an overall feeling of gratitude for the people in this world that make me smile, for the acts of kindness that mean more than their monetary value, and for the laughs that are shared with complete strangers.


7 responses to “Minibus Moments

  1. Good job Katie your stories ,are great they make me feel like im right there with you in the minbuse seeing what your seeing.I really enjoy reading your stories an so does russ .He said the same as i.SO my dear looks as if you have a great career ahead of you an we wish you the best in life when you come home. AN BY The way you have a birthday coming up so let me be the first one to wish you agreat birthday an many more to come gotta go so please remmber that i love you so take care . grandma B.

  2. Lol. This is an awesome story. Made me smile :] :] :]

  3. Thanks Kell! I appreciate your comments, and your good thoughts:) We should chat soon.. Can’t wait to hear about your big move!


    Katie, Colts Neck was a looong time ago. I hope you come to see us when you return.

  5. Enjoyed the post. Mostly because it talks about a town where a very good blogger friend grew up in.
    And it also is interesting that the word faranji is exactly the same we use in my language which is Dhivehi.

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