I much prefer my city to the capital, even though the capital has lots of yummy food options that I can’t find so easily at home (fried chicken, pizza, and good ice cream included!). But one of the things that usually bugs me about Ouagadougou (Ouaga for short) are the taxi drivers. Here, the French word for “taxi driver” is “taximan,” and since I think that you should be able to handle that much French, I’ll use that word from here on out in this post.
Anyway, in my city, if you want to take a taxi, it costs 60 cents, no matter where you want to go (except for a few exceptions). But here in Ouaga, sometimes you can get in a taxi for 60 cents, and sometimes they want $3 or $4. I knew that the 60 cent taxis were on certain routes, but that doesn’t help if you don’t know where the routes are! And then the $3 or $4 taximen are annoying and want to rip you off, which is actually a rather rare thing in Burkina if you’ve been around a bit. So during this trip to Ouaga for some training, I decided that I was tired of the annoying taximen and so was only going to take the 60 cent taxis. If the route didn’t go where I wanted to go, I’d walk. I have a GPS that shows me what way to go, so it works! Sometimes it’s a 15-20 minute walk to get to the right route, but it’s worth it to not get so flustered by the annoying taximen. Besides, I’m getting exercise, too.
And today, it was even more worth it since I had fun along the way. You see, in Jula a white person is called a “tubabu,” and so I’m used to being called “tubabu” wherever I go. (I think I’ve posted about that before.) But here in Ouaga, the main language isn’t Jula, but Mooré. And in Mooré a white person is a “nansara.” So here I’ll often get called “nansara” as I walk down the street. But today, as I was walking to where I could get a taxi to come home, I saw a boy and his mom on the other side of the street, and I lip-read the boy telling his mom, “tubabu filɛ,” which means, “look at the white person” in Jula. (I must say – it is quite handy to be able to read lips!) I then knew that they must speak Jula, so I greeted them in Jula and they answered back. We had a very pleasant conversation, and found out that they also came from my city, but have lived in the capital for a while. We talked about differences between the two cities and overall had a lovely conversation.
So see? Sometimes it’s handy to walk – you never know who you’ll meet, especially if you can lip-read. 🙂