Posted February 16th 2011 at 1:32 pm by
in Microlending in Nepal

There is Always Room on a Microbus

Claudine Emeott is a Kiva Fellow working in microfinance in Nepal.

When I am not riding on the back of Sanjeev’s motorcycle for Kiva field visits, I am riding in the back of a microbus, which is just as much an adventure.

Microbuses are vans that should reasonably fit approximately 10 passengers — one passenger in the front and nine in the back, divided among three bench seats. In practice, these vehicles pack in at least 15 passengers, depending on their size (if we’re talking mostly school children, the number might climb to 18). Some enterprising person realized long ago that a narrow bench could be added at the front, positioning an additional three passengers with their backs to the driver so they face the rest of the bus. An even more enterprising person then realized that two or so people could also fit on the door side.

Finally, there is one more person, the ticket collector and route advertiser, who hangs halfway outside the microbus calling out the destination (“Jawalakhel, Jawalakhel, Jawalakhel!”) to attract still more passengers. Where do they go, you might ask, when there are not possibly any more places to perch? Well, they stand, of course!

Take a look at the video I created below for proof:

And no, I did not add a soundtrack to the movie. What you hear is a Hindi pop special, which is the standard radio fare on microbuses.

Post by Claudine Emeott. This post originally appeared on The Kathmanduo, the blog Claudine and her husband are keeping while in Nepal, where Claudine is a Kiva Fellow working in microfinance. CoLab Radio will post pieces of their journey as it unfolds over the coming months.

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