Saturday, April 10, 2010

Beep, Beep..Odi!

This week my family and I made a trip to Malawi’s capital, Lilongwe. You see, my kids’ passports are about to expire and we had to renew them. The US embassy requires that both of the parents as well as the kids who will have their passport renewed need to be present for this. We really do not like to travel so far and put our kids’ lives in danger, and let me tell you why it is so!

Our trip to Lilongwe went without any major scares on the road but the return trip was a whole different story. My husband and I took turns driving for it is a 5 hour trip and is very stressful for one person to drive all the way. So, Mark was driving and leaving me to work on my Algebra homework. The kids were quiet and the sound of BBC World radio was like a white noise in the car. I was completely engrossed in my task. All of a sudden Mark yelled, “HOLD ON!” I looked up in time to see a semi-truck heading straight for us! It happened so quick that all I could do was scream! The driver of the truck finally saw us and swerved back into his own lane. I guess what shook me up so bad was that I was jerked out of my own little world back to the harsh reality that I was about to meet my Maker.

The second incident happened about two hours later while I was driving. Mark was dozing and Erik and Dana were singing along with the Owl City’s Fireflies. We were about an hour away from home and I was really happy to finally be so close to home. The oncoming traffic was heavy and slow. Then this idiot of a minibus driver decided to pass all of the 5 cars on the road, not caring if I was in his lane or not. Thank goodness, there was a nice wide shoulder, something that is very rare in Malawi, and most importantly, no people on that shoulder. My sudden escape to the shoulder startled Mark out of his sleep and he said, “You can’t even close your eyes on this road!”

We were lucky enough to escape with our lives from two really close calls but so many people are not so lucky. Seems like every single day I hear of a minibus accident. People here drive like mad not caring about the people they are shuttling from town to town. If you would like to read up more on Malawi and safety tips while traveling here, please, follow this link.

To end this post on a lighter and more funny note, I would like to give you the lyrics to a hilarious song by Scott Gray Productions, Beep, beep, Odi! Odi in Chichewa means “can I come in?”, or in case of this song, “let me through.” I hope you will enjoy it as much as I do! :-)

Beep, Beep, Odi!

My name is Efraim and I own this mini bus
Pay your money, jump aboard, there’s room for all of us,
I haven’t got a license, I don’t know how to drive,
Say a little prayer and hope you survive.

I just go, Beep, beep, Odi! Sindifuna ngozi! (Move! I don’t want an accident!)
I just go, Beep, beep, Odi! Sindifuna ngozi!
In Lilongwe town I am king of the road,
I am the driver who takes maximum load,
This bus is licensed to seat only ten,
But I can put that much and that much again.

I just go, Beep, beep, Odi! Sindifuna ngozi!
I just go, Beep, beep, Odi! Sindifuna ngozi!

I’m licensed to carry all kind of things,
I take whatever my passenger brings,
I take ufa (corn meal), and mangos, and chickens, and rice,
I even take fish when it doesn’t smell nice.

I just go, Beep, beep, Odi! Sindifuna ngozi!
I just go, Beep, beep, Odi! Sindifuna ngozi!

The rules of the road don’t apply to me,
I am a minibus driver you see,
I go where I like and I stop anywhere,
Azungus (whites) get mad but I don’t care.

I just go, Beep, beep, Odi! Sindifuna ngozi!
I just go, Beep, beep, Odi! Sindifuna ngozi!

From Lilongwe to Blantyre I drive very fast,
In all of my years of driving I have never yet been passed,
If I’m overtaking and there’s an oncoming truck,
I never panic, I don’t give a Beep, beep.

I just go, Beep, beep, Odi! Sindifuna ngozi!
I just go, Beep, beep, Odi! Sindifuna ngozi!

The other day on the way to the lake,
Down the Golomoti I ran out of brake,
I must admit I got one … of a fright,
When I turned around all my passengers were white.

I just go, Beep, beep, Odi! Sindifuna ngozi!
I just go, Beep, beep, Odi! Sindifuna ngozi!

One day I hope to have a big race
Me in my … Toyota Hiace,
Against Michael Schumacher in his Ferrari,
Racing around the roads of Malawi.

Beep-beep-beep, beep-beep-beep, (screeching of the brakes and a sound of a crash,) “Ahhh, Bwana, Ngozi!” (Ah boss, an accident!)


  1. That's an awesome song. Driving there sounds dangerous. I'm sorry you had such a scary trip.

  2. Can you load the song so we all could here it? Can you set it up to automatically play when we visit your website?

  3. Oh, how I would love to be a traffic officer there. i bet I could write many citations. LOL!!! At least you made it back safe and sound.

  4. Yeah! Crazy driving is cool for bumper cars and go-carts, but not so fun in vehicles going highway speeds. I am glad you and your family are all okay. That song is pretty funny. Even when the fish do not smell nice, eh? :)

  5. Hello guys, I happen to have the cd, the tune is now up on youtube! Enjoy...