The Danfo Bus

If you could stop one invention from being invented,what would it be?


My daily commute is the old woman who fries akara cakes near the bus stop; the strident calls of bus conductors calling out their various destinations; an antiquated bus radio stuttering with Igbo folk songs.

Two years ago, I would have refused the mere thought of riding a Nigerian danfo bus. I have since acquired a volunteer teaching position in a school six miles away from my residence in Lagos, and the potential financial impact of riding an Uber everyday has forced me to reconsider. The first time I boarded the old Lagos buses decorated with colorful streamers and poetic Yoruba decals, I carried my Western ideals with me. I had often used buses in America and was quick to compare those to the shabby rides in my hometown. In doing so, I overlooked the sensual and communal benefits of using public transportation.

The invention of the car has altered society in many ways. Perhaps least notable is the car’s impact on inter-personal relations. When we step into our individual vehicles each morning, we commit yet another act that cements our autonomy. The private car is the singular invention I would stop from being invented, if possible. Not for the sake of my strong beliefs as a leader of my school's Environmental Committee or...

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