baby on board

i generally pride myself on being someone who is unphased by the bizarre or strange.

in my travels i have seen some things that, if seen in my home context, would be quite strange or uncouth–and the person doing them would be quickly removed and potentially institutionalized. (for example: drinking blood from a calabash, wandering about mostly naked not on a european beach, eating innards of various animals [sometimes raw] etc.)

but this past sunday i was taken quite aback by something i saw.

i was driving my lovely land cruiser (she’s called gertie) out of kampala city, heading back home to kotido when i spotted a motorcycle taxi (called a boda) cruising along in front of me.

that is very typical–bodas in bicycle or motor form are everywhere in the city and in the villages–however this boda was not typical.

now before i go on let me describe some “typical” or “normal” loads for a boda of either variety:
* people (up to three besides the driver)
* chickens tied to the front handle-bars
* a goat (or two depending on size) strapped to the back
* an entire double bed, including mattress
* 50 plastic chairs on someone’s lap
* a load of matooke bananas
* anything you can get strapped to the back

so with those being “normal” loads one has to wonder what it was that caught my eye and even made me slow down.

the first thing i noticed about this boda was that it was way to close to my vehicle.
the second thing i noticed, as i honked my horn to communicate i would like for him to please move over, was a little yellow sign affixed to the front of the boda.

it was a “baby on board” sign.
you know, one of those yellow diamond shaped signs people sometimes suction-cup to their car windows.
so, that was amusing but still not out of the ordinary.

the third thing i noticed was the cargo of this particular boda–and the reason he was unable to move over any further:

a coffin.
strapped to the back of this boda was a coffin.
he couldn’t move over because then he would be hitting people walking with a coffin. of course.

okay, so thats weird.
i peered over my passenger’s lap and out her window and into the coffin.
there was  a person in it.
maybe 20ish in age.
traveling down jinja road at 7:45 on sunday morning.

of course.

i wonder if  the “baby on board” had been placed on the boda for this journey–or if perhaps this particular boda driver was like a low-budge hurse… or if anyone else in the whole city felt the irony as i did on ascension sunday…

baby on board

baby on board


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