13 August 2012
It was a lively affair. One of the passengers had a 'boom box', and the music became part of the bus' fabric. There were lively discussions, and all shared stories, emotions, and food.
The conductor climbed over piles of luggage, merchandise, and an occasional chicken. I admired his discipline and hard work. He provided the tickets and facilitated the process of embarkment and disembarkations. When conflict occurred, he defused the situation magisterial.
Wherever I go, I see people busy, hard work, tinkering, innovating, and making do. They are out and about, making and living a living. Most people in Africa, like people everywhere in the world, are hard working and caring people, virtuous and capable individuals. They are ethical with laudable values, understanding of being custodians of the environment, their communities, and individual lives.
Everywhere I communicate with people, framing as per critical ethnography. Actually, it is a never ending interview, an enquiring of my surroundings. I probe narratives to uncover meanings, functions, and the implications of unfolding events. Therefore, it is advantageous to live life within the space of direct communion in events and the actual environment. In my case, my interactions are aided by much travel, exposure and interactions on both sides of divides. I try to discern the meaningful and to classify the total experience of the story of events in theory. Through meeting people of all feathers, triangulating their inputs, I try to gain a measure of understanding.
Not unlike other areas in the world, change in Africa is fast. I notice chance every time I visit familiar places. Obviously there is lots of building going on, infrastructure being expanded, and change in interactions facilitated by cell phones, computers, satellite TV, and the internet. I keep probing on what this could mean for Africa's contribution to the world, as, undoubtedly, there is much to share from the wisdom of traditional philosophy and Africa's emotional honesty.
Observing and interacting with vibrant life as per metal cocoon – bus – is observing vibrant, living African humanity.