Cars jut in and out of flow, their rhythm in total synchronicity yet without rhyme. Total chaos, I think, as I sit in the taxi-matatu, how can this be?
People dart in and out of traffic, selling mangoes, fried chicken, baskets, chicklets…boda bodas with entire families sitting side saddle fly through the empty corridors of space between oncoming trucks. I saw a car yesterday that was offering driving lessons; as we sat with the taxi’s engine turned off, bumper to bumper traffic, the jam, 1.5 hours into our commute to work. Driving lessons? This is ironic. I remember thinking in that moment that all of my own driving experience would be more of a hindrance than an asset were I to learn to drive here, because rather than prepare me for this system, I would have to unlearn everything in order to re-learn this vehicular language. The same rules don’t apply. Yesterday, as we were taking the taxi home, to save time, the driver took a side street composed primarily of enormous potholes, small shops, and homes. Then, as we were stuck in a long line of traffic, he simply turned to the left, and started driving on the sidewalk! I distinctly remember thinking that I, having lived all of my life (almost) in a certain context, could easily think that he is a terrible and irresponsible driver, because in Canada, it would be true. But somehow, here, he is amazing! Rather than being a bad driver, he is incredible well versed in the invisible rules of the road, skillfully weaving in and out of madness without ever missing a beat.
Layers of complexity can easily offend the mind which has grown accustomed to another way of processing. On the surface, everything is foreign and strange, and seemingly disorganized. I am learning, however, that it is not at all disorganized; it is like a intricate symphony, with the smallest to largest of instruments orchestrated according to an unseen music, everything moving in a delicate flow caught in the tension between harmony and chaos.
On the edge of chaos lives a miracle.