Today was my first day driving in Mwanza, Tanzania. I say first day because I have a feeling that I'll have another chance to drive before I leave for good.
Here's a little bit of background on the driving situation here in Mwanza:
- There is one stop light in the whole city.
- There are four (I think) roundabouts.
- Cars are right hand drive and are driven on the right side of the road (like in the UK).
- And last but not least: there are no rules of the road. Just don't hit anyone or anything, which is easier said than done. (I exaggerate that last bit, but it seems like you can pretty much do whatever you want on the road. Mind you, I have seen police pull drivers over.)
After our trip and meeting about the land with the Mamas (which I will write in detail in my next post), Stanley offered to let me drive his car. Me being me, I didn't want to turn down this opportunity (that's pretty much my modus operandi for this trip).
He asked if I could drive, and I said yes. It was a white Suzuki, which reminded me of the Suzuki Celerio I was driving in the summer in Barbados but a lot bigger. I got in the driver's seat and went about my way.
The market road in Mabatini is interesting. It's a dirt road with craters, not potholes, craters (pretty much the same of most unpaved roads here in Mwanza.) And there are people, piki pikis (motorcycles), and cars going in all directions. The key is to not fall in the open sewers or hit someone.
I managed to make a right turn (left turn in Canada) to get on the main road, drove about a km or so, made another right and then we were back at the apartment. Nothing special.
Shannon was pleasantly surprised at how well I drove, but after jam busting (sp?) and driving through cane fields in the pitch black of night in Barbados or without ABS and traction control on ice and snow in London, I'm a pretty confident driver. Plus, I love driving. Here in Mwanza you just need to be hyper aware of what's around you, or what's going to jump in front of you, at all times.
No texting and driving in this city.