The black-smoke belching, vibrantly painted buses that cruise around the city are known as chicken buses. I imagine they garnered this name because the people are crammed in like chickens, and because there are frequently chickens, or other livestock on board. They are school buses from the U.S. that get a second chance at life down here. The buses are notoriously unsafe, from a personal safety standpoint, as well as from a mechanical safety standpoint. Check out this disturbing article about the gang violence and extortion that is commonplace. Per embassy security, we are forbidden from ever getting on one of these buses, not that we would ever have the desire to do so.
Our wonderful housekeeper, Francisca, uses these buses to get to our house during the week. This morning she told DiploMom that her bus was robbed on her way in. A man got on board with a gun and went around to the passengers demanding mobile phones and money. Francisca closed her eyes and began praying and the man did not take anything from her. If I understood correctly, most everyone else was robbed. I think he may have been a bit thrown by her praying in the midst of his robbery! We are thankful for the Lord’s provision and that she was safe and unharmed. She is a wonderful blessing to us and DiploTot absolutely adores her.
A week or so back she was delayed on her way to our house by hours and hours, when another chicken bus had its brakes go out, which tragically led to the deaths of around 40 passengers. The buses are a fixture of the city and country for that matter. It is entertaining to see the various paint jobs they sport, but I am glad that will be the extent of our experiences with them.