Bus Driver…

Since the beginning of the school year I have been driving the MAF kids from Pos 7 to school in the mornings.  There is an MAF bus, but there are too many kids for it to be able to take everyone in one run and as high school, middle school and elementary all start at 7:30, there was a need for another driver.

Some mornings I play sports up at the school right after I bring the kids so it works out great.

So each morning at around 7:10 we all load into the Red Izuzu Panther (kinda like a Nissan Pathfinder).  There are our five kids and the two kids from the neighbours so with everyone’s backpacks, we are a full load.  As we make our way down our hill we are frequently forced to swerve to avoid all the uniform-sporting kids walking up or down the hill to their respective schools.  They often walk two or three abreast and it’s a narrow road with motorcycle taxis going up and down as well, swerving also to avoid the many potholes.  I’m also doing my best to avoid the biggest of the potholes.  I must keep a vigilant look-out at all times.  When we reach the bottom of the hill we need to cross two lanes of traffice to turn right.  We drive on the left-hand side of the road here…  Traffic in our little city has become a bit nightmarish.  There is barely a break in the first lane of traffic.  I slowly inch my way into the road until I basically force traffic to stop for me.  Then I move to the middle where I pretty much do the same to enter into the flow of traffic on the other side.  Then we proceed down the main road towards the one main red light in town.  You always hope to hit it right because it only stays green for our direction for maybe 10 seconds.  We always run yellow and red lights here.  The other day as I went over the bridge just before the lights, the vehicles in front of me suddenly stopped and I was forced to do the same.  The motorcycle taxi behind me wasn’t as aware as he should have been and clipped the side of the car as he tried to swerve.  The vegetables he was carrying fell off and he hurt his foot but when I opened my window to say sorry (even though it wasn’t my fault, I still wanted to say it) he motioned for me to keep going, it was ok.  There was a scratch on the car but I wasn’t interested in dealing with the hassle of trying to get some money from the poor guy.  No harm done.  We moved on.  After the traffic lights, the road technically stays 2 lanes for our side but essentially becomes one lane because of some massive potholes on the left side.  I always stay to the right fairly close to the vehicle in front of me so no one can push their way in front of me at that spot, because they always try!  We move farther down the road until we reach the HIS road.  We need to turn right and again, sometimes I have to inch my way into the traffic until someone decides to stop.  Then I need to make sure that there aren’t any motorcycles zipping around the stopped car who could hit me.  We then enter the road.  If there are cars coming out, we need to wait for them to go first.  Because of the large pile of garbage on the corner, only one vehicle can go out or in at a time.  Once we’re in we enjoy the smooth ride.  The road was built a number of years ago by the school.  It’s a cement road with no potholes.  As we drive down the road we pass by mothers spoon-feeding rice to their toddlers on the sidewalks in front of their houses.  Then there’s the motorcycle vegetable guy inevitably parked on the side forcing traffic to take turns going around him.  And someone always parks a car on the road even though they aren’t supposed to.  Then we go right and then left and up the hill towards the school.  We stop at the gate where the guards wave us in.  We drive past the teacher housing and down into the parking lot where I stop and let the kids out for another day of school.

Check out this link for a little video of the school: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=70ePuYMTS2A

See if you can see any of our kids in the video!

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About Erica Feunekes

Myself, my husband Hugo and our five kids live and work in Sentani, Papua, with Mission Aviation Fellowship.
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