Last night, I checked in with the driver of the crack-o-dawn transit. He said he'd be leaving at "Arrba nishan." 4'o'clock, straight up. O-dark-hundred.
So I set my alarm for 3:30, packed, and said goodnight to my visiting buddy. I left her playing on the internet (not everyone is as lucky as I do, having internet at home) and crashed out. Except that I couldn't sleep. Till almost 2. At 3:30, the alarm went off faithfully. I pulled myself together, assembled my bags (one to bring to Rabat, one with zucchini bread, and two of muraling supplies, for next week's Earth Day fun with Zakaria and Nacima), and trudged out to the road. I got out at about 10 till 4, and saw nothing. No one.
Did the transit leave early? It sometimes does...but the driver knew I wanted to go, and I even told him where I live, so I know he wouldn't have left without honking outside my door.
5 cold minutes go by.
I look up the road. No sign of the transit. No one waiting for the transit.
10 cold minutes.
I wonder if anyone else will drive past that I can hitch a ride with. Seems unlikely.
I hear the wake-up call. It precedes the predawn call-to-prayer by about 15 minutes, giving people time to wake up and clean up before their morning prayers. The caller says things like, "Prayer is better than sleep," and "You will be rewarded for your devotion!"
It occurs to me that the morning transit never leaves before the prayer call. Folks pray, *then* travel.
I stop worrying that I've missed it, and simply wait for it to show.
I hear the morning call to prayer. "Alllllaaaaaaahu akbar! Alllllaaaaaaahu akbar! La illa...." the voice rings out over the dark town.
I see shadows shifting on a nearby building. Where's the light coming from? Both moon and stars are too dim on this overcast morning... I get up, look around, and can't find the source of the light. I sit back down. A moment later, headlights approach over a hill. The transit is here! Alhumdulillah!
I stow my bags on top (with a lot of help from the jumper) and climb on board. 4:23am, my phone claims. So much for 'Arrba nishan', I grump to myself, then settle down to try to sleep. (Unsuccessfully. I can never sleep when sitting up.)
We finally roll at 4:45, rolling eastward towards the approaching sunrise...
Just another morning in the life of a Peace Corps Volunteer.
9 months ago