Philippine Jeepney

Yesterday afternoon, I went to a free seminar on Modular Aquaponics and Beekeeping. It was a very educational discussion for someone who is an Organic Farming enthusiast. I will try to discuss them in my upcoming blogs. For the meantime, I would like to share an interesting chat on my way home.

It rained that afternoon and finding a taxi is difficult, so I preferred to ride a jeepney. I was lucky enough to be seated at the front seat beside the driver; if I were at the back seat, it is way too crowded and could get my feet stepped on by other hurrying passengers. I was pushed nearer to the driver because a new passenger seated right next to me.

The new passenger was a short man, brown-skinned, and looked every inch a Filipino. I had no idea he was a foreigner until the driver asked him where he was going using our local dialect.

He looked at me perplexed and asked,”What did he say? What did he say?

I translated the words to him, “The driver would like to know where you are going

Ah, Panacan“. He smiled and thanked me.

The jeepney driver was amused and had me asked the man more where he came from.

The man answered, “South Africa“. It fueled my curiousity, I asked him again, “Where in South Africa particularly?”

In Cape Town“, the man smiled. He was amused as well, listening intently to my conversation with the driver using our local dialect and laughing a little in between. The South African added that he was living in Davao City for almost 2 years already and is in the process of finishing his thesis to gain his Master’s Degree in Special Education in one of the Universities here. When he finishes the course, he intends to go back to his hometown and practice his profession to help children with special needs.

Why, of all places, here in Davao City?”, I asked him.

He said, he preferred a peaceful and friendly place so he chose to live and study in Davao City. I told him, “Good choice!”, and he smiled.

Again, the driver wanted to know how his living and school expenses were covered. The man told us that he started out with a Scholarship Grant from a politician in his hometown, but subsequently became self-supporting when the politician lost in a recent election.

Interesting enough, I told him about my father’s journey to Cape Town, Johannesburg, and in other South African cities when he was a seaman. The man felt sorry when I told him my father passed away in 2012.

He reacted when I told him that my husband was previously assigned to work in Khartoum, Sudan, Africa sometime in 2006-2007. “Wow, that place is so messed up! I wouldn’t go there myself”, he said shaking his head in disapproval.

When I arrived at my destination, I asked the South African to move and step down the jeepney so I can get off the front seat. I thanked the driver and thanked the South African for a nice chat.

It was a very interesting communication of three strangers from three different walks of life sharing a ride.

It had me smiling as I walked home.


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