Thursday, August 11, 2011

Sounds of Music

I'm sure I've mentioned before how one of the worst parts of bus travel in this country is the MUSIC. Zambian pop music played at ear shattering levels. Think of the most obnoxious and repetitive music you can imagine. That's it!

When I traveled south to collect our newest team (and say goodbye to Meghan--sob!) the bus company showed a terrible American movie--this one wasn't even a B movie--it was more like a C- movie. Truly, truly awful and violent! Then they showed a Zambian movie. I couldn't understand anything that was going on but everyone else on the bus seemed to enjoy it. They chuckled a lot. The trouble started when the movie ended and the DVD menu came up. The conductor wasn't paying attention so the menu screen stayed up. That wouldn't have been bad on its own, but the menu music kept playing--for one full hour that 15 seconds of looped music played over and over again. Finally I told the conductor that we were all on our way to losing our minds. The DVD was finally shut off but then the Zam Pop was turned back on. I finally managed to tune it out by around 1 AM and was then awakened by HammerTime at 4AM. "Can't touch this!"

After only one night in Lusaka it was time to load back on the bus with our new team of volunteers. Everyone was uncomfortable from the two flights they'd already taken and the jet lag that was setting in. We'd had some confusion over seating and we were all quite tired of the hassles of traveling in Africa. It was hot and stuffy and the thought of being on that crowded bus for 17 hours was overwhelming for everyone. 
   Just then a young man with crazy looking eyes and a guitar boarded the bus. He proceeded to lead everyone in praise and worship songs. He was actually pretty good. One of the things I liked about him too was his message was short, simple and sweet. Many of our volunteers commented on how it was perfect timing to remind them that they were on the trip for God. 

Later that night however, I felt that the ZamPop music was just too loud. I wanted our volunteers to have a nice experience and a chance to rest as much as possible. At 10 PM I asked if they could possibly turn the volume off or down. In true passive/aggressive manner, the conductor then stood up and announced to the entire bus--"Fine, if you want the music off, I'll turn it off!" This did not sit well with the 10 or so drunk men who wanted the music to continue.
This kicked off a ranting session that went on into the night and the more the men drank the more belligerent they got. They started off by complaining that some passengers could get their way with regards to the music and began accusing the conductor of taking a bribe. One man called out that he had music on his phone but that the battery would soon die. He played his music for a few minutes but sure enough the battery died--thank goodness. The conversation went downhill as they began to discuss general politics including why the government would allow foreigners into the country if the dollar was doing so poorly. Like I said, they were drunk.

As uncomfortable as it was to have to listen to drunk men rant and rave, it was way better than the loud music and I would do the same thing over again tomorrow. I'm just glad that when the team leaves next week it will be Tom taking them down. Three round trip bus rides in two and a half weeks is enough for me.

Exactly One Year Ago (yesterday): Still Here


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