She is a study in concentration. Hands on the controls, tentatively shifting gears, pink sari flying in the breeze. This young woman is my hero! Why? She’s learning to drive a tuk-tuk in a country where few women dare to drive!
I’m sitting on our balcony in Ella, watching the kids across the field play cricket. Out of the corner of my eye I see a red tuk-tuk appear with a man driving, and the tiny back seat is stuffed with wife and two little kids. Then it gets interesting. Husband and wife get out and exchange places. Wow! I can tell that he is very patiently instructing her in the art of driving a tuk-tuk – pretty much a hybrid of a 3-wheel motorcycle with a cab. She uses all her strength to yank the long starter lever on the floor … and off they go with the kids clapping.
She has lots of stops and starts, manages to kill it several times, but I can tell she’s talking to herself … I can do this. It probably doesn’t help that the village elders are looking on … judging.
After more than twenty revolutions around the field she drifts to a stop and I think the lesson is over, but No! Dad and the kids get out. She’s gonna solo! I love this couple! They are both bucking tradition. It reminds me of when James taught me how to drive a stick shift when we lived in Sudan. He said I was the master of the second-gear takeoff!
She starts out slowly, gradually gaining speed and confidence. And by the end of her fifth lap she is grinning, then smiling! I can only imagine what freedom she must be feeling. You go Girl!