A woman truck driver and the usual TIA (This is Africa)…

Usually it is good fun to get all the attention… guys staring at you while you are driving giving you thumbs up, waving, calling others, pointing at you…but it can get too much…

…in Addis Ababa in the workshop: I want to undo wheel nuts together with a local workshop guy. Another guy comes: no no, this is too dangerous for you! But then they both try to get the drum off without releasing the brakes… no comment…

…I have installed the new fridge for the truck. I have one question to a local guy who deals with fridges. He doesn’t understand how I was able to install the fridge without loosing all the gas. I start talking about valves… he stares at me, asks me if I am happy with what I have done and just runs away. Later I find out that he couldn’t believe that I even know about the existence of valves…

…The truck doesn’t start. I need a truck with two batteries to jumpstart me. I try to explain that to some locals. The language barrier in Ethiopia is a massive problem. I repeat over and over again that I don’t need a normal car, I need 24 Volt to start the truck. The guy looks at me and says: I love you! I F* DON’T LOVE YOU! GET ME F* 24 VOLT BATTERIES TO START MY TRUCK, I AM RUNNING OUT OF TIME!!!

…two hours later, I am stopping for some shopping in another town. Waiting in the driver’s seat. 25 guys round the truck asking for my name, where I am from and declaring their love to me… my name is Gertie, I am from Timbuktu and my email address is written on the truck: www.dragoman.com
They all try to remember the address and assure me that they all want to move to Mali (after I have told them that Timbuktu is in Mali as they just don’t have a clue)

I am dreaming during night about unwinding hand brakes, it is a miracle that I have not overrun a kid or a donkey yet as it seems that people and animals are equally resistant staying on the road even if you horn at them, whenever you stop kids are climbing up the truck asking you for pens, bottles, T-Shirts and money, there is either no power or no water or whatever and when you ask questions to locals they usually answer with “yes” even they don’t understand.

Why do I love this job?
…for the guy who brought me an extra blanket. He must have been waiting exactly until I went to bed yesterday and he suddenly appeared with the blanket. I didn’t ask for it but without it I would have been freezing the whole night.
…for thousands of smiling faces who welcome you happily to the country and invite you for a coffee.
…for my happy passengers who just follow us whatever we do and are patient and helpful and good fun!
…no day is like the other day. I AM NEVER EVER BORED!!!
…because it’s a great CHALLENGE!! I never needed so many different skills at the same time in any other job.
…because I know these kids are begging just because we Westerns made them to do so.
…and there are many many more reasons… I JUST LOVE IT!


…and some pictures…

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