Maun to Shakawe: Sleeping on a Taxi Drivers’ Floor
I checked out of the Old Bridge Backpackers this morning and decided to get out of Botswana. I made it to the bus station and trying to find a bus to Shakawe, a border town with Namibia on the Botswana side. Two lovely local ladies walked me to the right bus. It would be a seven hour journey. I got a front seat so that I could see out the window as we drove.
Botswana is very dry right now. They say the rains were supposed to come in November and they are just coming little by little now. It is said that the dryness has killed many animals.
Along the roadside are a lot of cattle, donkeys, and even wild ostrich couples heading somewhere together.
The bus drove for about two hours and we stopped at a “Hoof and Mouth Disease Check-Point”, where a policeman got on the bus to do a headcount. He looked at me and said with a big smile, “Hello gentleman. How is your journey?” He was so friendly. He walked through the bus, and when he got to the front again, he announced to me and the conductor lady, “This bus has 88 passengers on it. This woman had told me it only has 68 people on it. This woman has failed her mathematics!” He did not seem to care though as he got off the bus again in a great mood.
Once we were on the road again, the bus really began to fill up. The conductor really started piling passengers on, and the aisles were squished with humans like they were in a mosh pit. The number on the bus must have been 130 by that point. It was crazy on there. I was so happy that I had a seat against a window and that the crowd was not pushed up against me and I was not crotch to ass with anyone else.
So, I jumped into Andy’s taxi who said he was finished with work for the evening and we drove out of town into the countryside towards to Mohembo village border crossing. He told me along the way that he did not have electricity. I did not care. All I wanted was a roof and walls to hide from the mosquitoes. We drove about 7 kilometers from town and we drove into a small village with three or four houses. I was glad to see that we were not alone, but I had a good feeling from Andy.
When we got to his house, Andy lived in a tiny shack that had the kitchen and bedroom as one. It was very clean. There was a double-bed to the side, a propane stove on the other, a small table, some dishes, a couple of wash-basins, and a mattress on the floor. Andy asked me if I wanted the mattress or the bed. I told him the mattress would be good enough for me!
Well, it turned out that Andy is very well travelled for an African. He has been all over southern Africa from Zanzibar all of the way to the bottom of South Africa and through everything in between. He cooked us dinner as we were chatting. It was incredible. He was just a really good man who took care of me for the night…
At about 22:00, he blew out the candle we had for light.
Wow, there are great people out there.