Joyfully Subversive - the collection
From 2010, when I had my own moto in Bujumbura, Burundi - Daniella Hayo was my exquisite Charge D'Affairs.
One of our favorite moto games is shopping downtown.
Certain types of shopping, I never do, because the prices triple when I show my face. So Dani does my purchasing for me. This allows us to act out a wonderful charade on the local stage.
It is odd for me to be on the moto - that we have well established. But the conundrum that is Dani, is not as well plumbed.
The moto boys are pretty sure that I am not a commercial enterprise. But sometimes they wonder, they have seen different people on my pillion. The back seat is the seat of the purchaser, the usual power position. But white is power up, and old is power up, and we subvert both those paradigms when Dani is behind me. It confuses them.
We compound this when we shop. I ride up to the moto stand, and discharge Dani then pull into line with the rest of the boys. She hands me her helmet and says in nice Kirundi “Please wait, I won’t be long.” I say “Oui, Mademoiselle” They are confounded. They try and quiz me, but I have no Kirundi, Well, I can say “Sindabizi Ikirundi” which ironically means “I can’t speak Kirundi.” Their puzzlers are puzzed.
I twiddle my thumbs and watch traffic just like they do. When Dani comes back with her packages, I say “Iko Wapi?” Where to? In Kiswahili. She replies “Home, please” in her nice French and I say “OK” in universal, And I grin at the boys, and off we go.
“Who IS that GIRL????
“How does she rate a lady Mazungu driver??”
“Maybe she is the daughter of the president?”
“Don’t be stupid! There would be guns!”
And the boys have something to think about all afternoon.