Posted by: Ali | January 4, 2010

What about the bus?

Kudos to anyone who gets the Invader Zim reference.

Today, for orientation, we had a lesson on how to get around in Lima, which involved teaching the new volunteers how to take the bus.  We were going to accompany Megan to her placement, and then have  the volunteers figure out how to get home.  Kate decided to come along to enjoy the spectacle that is lost volunteers.

On the way there, Megan selected a nice, new bus that was very spacious and clean.  The volunteers learned how much money the fare would cost, how to tell the bus driver where you were getting off, and how to find out where the bus was going.

Then came the fun part.  We got off the bus, escorted Megan to her placement, wandered around a park (my covert attempt to get the volunteers to forget some of what they had learned to make it more amusing for me), and finally decided to go home.  I pointed out to the volunteers that there were three steps: find a street that had buses on it, figure out where they were going to, and then find a bus going in that direction.

First step: finding a street with buses.  The first street we came to was one way, in the wrong direction, so the volunteers decided to go another block.  The next street was going the right direction, but had very little traffic.  Phil pointed out that there were buses down the street if they turned right, but was ignored and the volunteers kept going straight.  The next block had no buses, nor the next, so they decided to turn to the right to the street Phil pointed out.  When they got there, they turned right again, doing a U-turn and ended up passing the spot where they started out, ignoring all the buses passing by, before coming to a halt and calling a meeting.

Phil announced that they needed a game plan.  None of the volunteers could remember the name of the street where they got on the bus, and after brainstorming they only remembered the names Arequipa and Parque Kennedy.  Carl gave up and decided to get in a random bus going the right general direction, which happened to be the right bus.  This bus, however, was much smaller.

They rode the bus for a while before I asked them if they thought they were on the right bus or not.  Phil “had a feeling” it was right, Amanda had no clue, and Carl managed to recognize a few landmarks.  However, after turning off a main road, Carl began to have his doubts about the bus being right, although Amanda was still unsure and Phil still had his feeling.  After a while, however, Carl was about to conclude that we were definitely on the wrong bus when Amanda saved the day by spotting a traffic sign that said that Arequipa Avenue was straight ahead.  They then got off the bus early and walked the rest of the way, at which point Kate and I shared a giggle.  Teehee!


  1. Good scam. Having explored LatAm extensivly by public transit, I can feel their pain. I can also respect that people of a certain age don’t usually have the foggiest sense of direction nor distance (you, by the way, were one of them). Nice to see you’re becoming more like your parents every day…

  2. Do you make everyone do that?

    I don’t know why, but reading that made me very nervous for visiting you. You better be extra hard on me =D

    (then again, i won’t be an official volunteer, would I?)


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