The Chicken Bus: A biography
The little yellow school bus began life picking up american children in front of their parents homes, safely taking them to school and returning them home layer that day. You can still see the bluebird up front with a plaque saying it’s registered in Kansas. There is a flyer carefully taped over the door, encouraging youngsters to play nicely, respect each others things, and stay behind the yellow line.
But the little yellow bus isn’t in Kansas anymore. It has been repurposed in another land. When it got too old, when number on the odometer became a bit too big, the americans decided it had outlived it’s usefulness. The americans didn’t want it anymore, but the people of another land wanted it very much.
These people couldn’t afford new buses, they couldn’t even afford cars. So the little aging school bus was sent to Nicaragua where the war torn country was struggling to sit back up after being knocked down again and again and again. Now the little bus had a new purpose, instead of taking children to their lessons it could take fathers to their jobs, and mothers to the market. It was now a central, vital piece of a small community that desperately needed it’s help. Now those people didn’t have to walk. With the help of an old school bus they could build a new future.
In the seats where second graders once traded sandwiches, squealed over cooties, and lost their homework. Where little boys dropped frogs in backpacks and pulled the cute girls hair, entire families now rode. The new riders didn’t mind that they often had to stand because there weren’t enough seats, or that their groceries might have to go on the roof because there wasn’t enough space inside. The aspiring young professional didn’t complain that his pants got wrinkled by the crowded conditions or that he had to stand in in the back. He holds on to a windowsill with one hand and the back of a seat with the other, balancing carefully to keep from being bounced off a sack of grain. The grain on it’s way to feed someone’s chickens.
They don’t mind because it means they can work at a job 20 kilometers from the family home without having to ride a bicycle on the hot dusty roads. They can make less trips to the grocery store and they only have to carry the food a few blocks instead of miles. It means that things like nuts and meats and certain vegetables that are simply unavailable near home are suddenly within their grasp.
So when the little yellow bus shows up 30 minutes late and tremendously overpacked. Where people literally can’t reach into their pockets for the fare without everyone around them having to adjust position… Where everyone is sweating buckets because there is simply no room for air to flow… They don’t complain, they smile and run to meet it!
In this land, they’re thrilled that the little yellow bus showed up at all.
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