Wednesday, 7 August 2013

Taxi Broisse

Taxi Broisse stop - Fort Dauphin - Madagascar - Giles Crosse

A Taxi Broisse is a quintessentially Madagascan experience.

Basically a 7 1/2 tonne truck, this taxi service is the commonest and cheapest way for Malagasy people to navigate their way around the island.

To Western eyes, the entire process is pretty remarkable.

Once the Broisse arrives, in my case some three hours late, something of a frenzy occurs.

Rice, spring onions, spare tyres and anything else that will fit on board are crammed into the space. Including live chickens and ducks.

After about an hour, the humans come next. Including me.

Loading Taxi Broisse - Fort Dauphin - Madagascar - Giles Crosse
The back of the truck is literally crammed to bursting. We sit on rice, floorboards, crushed beans, tyres and whatever will suffice. I had a Malagasy woman's baby balanced in one arm, whilst my foot became trapped between another's leg and a huge bag of rice.

The Broisse then rolls off for some 4/5 hours of travel across dirt tracks. On our particular journey, heavy rains the night before rendered the road impassable, leading to a couple of hour's delay whilst leaves and trees created a pathway across the saturated ground.

The road to Saint Luce - floods - Giles Crosse 

Yet more apparent chaos occurs on entering villages along the route. Shouting, sweating Malagasy shift bags of rice down for the villagers, crowding at the back of the truck presumably seeking their next meal.

It is a touching sight and one that contrasts harshly with the vast volumes of food waste created in developed countries.

Some hours into the drive, the Malagasy break out into frenetic chat, song and laughter. It's a remarkable moment, some 200 voices in the back of a truck, smiling and laughing amid the most uncomfortable journey imaginable.

Within moments, talk turns to the only white face in the Taxi. My age, marital status, job and name are all enquired after, followed by attempts to pronounce it with varying degrees of success.

Once again the fundamental good nature and empathy underlying the Malagasy people is well revealed. Sharing such a journey is a pleasure and offers a real insight into how we might alter approaches to life, and consider quite how more meaningful are companionship and laughter than the solitude of business class.

Road to Saint Luce - Madagascar - Giles Crosse 

No comments:

Post a Comment