7 years ago you could see me zooming around on a Piagio Scooter affectionately named Pierre.
Fast forward to now. I sit on the back of bodabodas on a daily basis zooming around town.
Bodabodas are probably the most frightening, exhilarating, quickest, and entertaining modes of transportation. Having my motorcycle license, I assumed that learning to drive a bodaboda would be similar to my days spent driving around Tucson, AZ on Pierre.
It is not.
Boda lesson #1 with Denis was fantastic. Kickstarting worked and shifting gears up and down while driving down a straight line (with no traffic and very little curious people) made me feel like I was on top of the world and I could zip around town no problem in a few short lessons.
Then, Boda lesson #2 happened.
I managed to drop the bodaboda with Denis and me on it within the first 5 minutes, because I tried turning while holding the brake and gunning the gas (not my brightest moment). Denis being the swell friend/boda driver he is just laughed, picked up the bodaboda and made me try again.
Finally, I arrived at the same location that was deserted for our boda lesson #1. It was NOT deserted this time. It was filled with lovely boda drivers that have transported me around since I arrived in Uganda and were just showing their support. It was also filled with obnoxious people that thought they were funny, thought they were supportive, or just like shouting 'Mzungu Mzungu' and less endearing phrases at me while I stall, restart, stall, restart, and slowly try and figure out how to complete a circle fluidly on a bodaboda.
Being embarrassed doesn't even really show how uncomfortable I was. Denis was such a brilliant instructor giving me tips on how to not stall and how to complete a turn. Also, when I would ask him what people were shouting at me he would kindly say "Just do not listen. Try again. Go. Drive".
So, my plan of renting or buying a bodaboda to get me to Mengo and back home for work every day has been halted. I have decided that I need to have boda lesson #3 eventually, but I want the fear to subside.
Goal of 2015. Learn to bodaboda in traffic.
But, for now I will sit on the back of the bodas and trust the drivers that give me the most fair price to get me safely through the Kampala traffic.