Transport Field Note
How do people get around?
Despite improvements and numerous paved roads, in Botswana public transportation network is limited. Getting around Gaborone is hard and not cheap if you do not plan ahead. Figuring out transportation has been an interesting experience. In Botswana public schedules for buses and combi (mini buses) times are not always listed and available. The most common form of transport in Gaborone is by using a combi. Additionally, a group of people can share the cost to an area it is known as “taxi special.” For example, if four people are all waiting to hale a taxi to the station they can each pay P4 four pula and ride together. But, people are not allowed to spilt taxi to the same location, they are require to each pay a fare if the ride is not indicated as a taxi special. Many people who are able to afford a car, drive to their location of preferred location. Botswana is home to one of the countries to the most cars individual owned by local population.
How did I feel when I tried this way of getting around?
In order to get around, I use combi’s. They are my most common form of transport. I also travel by foot when time and temperature is not too intimating. When traveling at night, I use a taxi’s to stay safe and avoid walking in poorly light areas. Most combi rides are enjoyable, I usually get to listen to local music. In the beginning, trying to navigating transportation system without any schedules or planned stops was frightening process. I didn’t understand how people got around without really knowing what the details of their transport like the time, stops, and route. But, like the local population with time you just figure it out. Sometimes you can ask around and most combi drivers can help find how to get where you want.
Is this way of getting around connected to the culture and environment? How?
Generally, Batswana people are generally friendly and welcoming. In most situation people greet each other and work together. As a stranger riding in public transport everyone is expected to greet each other and acknowledge one another, sometimes to even strike up a conversion. Botswana greet in their language and most always speak in Setswana first. To greet one begin with dumlea rra/ mma (due-MAY-La, rra, mma: hello sir/ madam), when greeting groups of people with mixed gender one can uses dumlenge (pronounced do-mel-anng). In western practices you don’t greet people you travel with and are not expected to recognize them. But, in Botswana greets are important sign of respect. Usually, when I am sitting next to someone I greet them. When most people sit next to me they also greet me. Combi not leave without waiting for all seats to be filled, during busy times of common travel time waiting is not problem as combi fill up fast. However, sometimes you have to wait until the combi is filled. According to customs waiting for others is a sign working together to complete tasks. Also when want to get off they must communicate with the driver tell them to stop. Communication with the driver other passengers only works with the collaboration of everyone on the combi.
Currently, more people drive to get to work in order to avoid the hassle of using public transport. Nevertheless, more cars on the road creates traffic, also negatively impacts the environment. Increased number of cars will results in an increase in carbon emissions. An upsurge in carbon emission will create ecological problems such as land degradation, deforestation, and endanger species. Botswana’s government prides it’s self in the practice of wild life protection, to ensure a healthy environment it must practice conservation. Public transportation should be encouraged and used by everyone. One way to do that would be developing a new transportation system that appeals everyone