Lanes Island

28Apr/100

The small rebellions

My disproportionately high number of blog postings about my bus rides must be an indication that I need to cut back on my commutes.
But until I do, I will continue to write my bus ride observations column and may even expand my study to include the behaviors of moto drivers since I ride motos even more frequently.
Here's the latest from my April 28th journey:
I typically think of the Rwandese as law abiding citizens. Laws are created and they are followed. But I suppose every society needs to find small ways to rebel.
I haven't read the law, but based on what I'm told and the behavior of today's bus driver, drivers must wear seat belts. I hadn't noticed that my driver was not buckled in until we approached a security check point. During the two hour drive there are frequent junctures where we encounter Rwanda's finest, in their blue berets and navy belted jumpsuits. As the van slowed to a stop, the driver reached across his chest to draw his seat belt across his body. When we were out of sight of the police he released the belt, never actually latching the buckle into place.
Now, I would imagine the law was created for the safety and health of the citizens. It's not a bad law. And clearly, the driver was aware of the law since he made a gesture to follow it when the law enforcement was present. Yet, rather than simply buckle in he staged a minor rebellion -- one with the potential to do more harm to himself than the law he broke.
On a related note, the law requires moto drivers to provide helmets to their passengers. And they do. However, recently I had a short distance to travel. I climbed on board and beckoned for the driver to pass me the helmet. He shook his head and clutched the helmet to him. Okay. Fine, I thought. I just have to get from my house to campus.
But as we approached campus, my moto driver spotted two police officers in the distance. Without hesitation he passed the helmet over his shoulder. I was furious and refused to put the helmet on. We only had a few more meters to traveled. I hoped he'd be punished for putting my safety at risk. We zoomed passed the police without arrest.

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