My friends Laura and Erin and I took advantage of a couple days off for mid-term this past week to take a dala dala (public bus) and travel to a neighboring town, Bagamoyo. It was a fun, mini-adventure complete with thrills, terror, joy, and laughter.
Riding a dala dala is always an adventure in and of itself. The people are squished into an itty-bitty bus like sardines, and with every stop, we played human Tetris as people got on an off: every ounce of space is reorganized until it’s utilized to the height of efficiency. The smell is lovely, but when the bus starts back up again, the breeze does away with most of it. There is no such thing as a personal bubble in a dala. It’s great fun! And you get all this for just a dollar.
I also got to ride a piki piki (motorcycle) for the very first time. I was adamantly against it and held my ground for a full 24 hours, but in the end I couldn’t run from the persuasion of the gleeful squeals of Erin and Laura (and the sneaking suspicion that blondes really DO have more fun) when they took off down the road on one of these. I’m glad I gave in.
Lastly, we also got a chance to visit the church where David Livingstone’s body (the famous missionary/explorer) rested for a night before it was shipped back to be buried in Westminster Abbey. The church now has a fascinating museum that chronicles the history of slave trade in East Africa as well as missionary impact to promote social justice and redeem Africans from slavery.
Bagamoyo does have a dark history of slave trade, as well as a reputation for being steeped in animism and witchcraft. Compassion International does have a base here, and there are a few nonprofit organizations that are growing in this area. However, this town is in need of a lot of prayer.