The Calm Dala Conductor

By Judy Maduhu • June 22, 2023

Dala is a short form of daladala, it’s a public means of transport here in Tanzania and most of us prefer to use the dala because its fare and convenient. A conductor is someone who is responsible to call upon and bring in passengers as well as charge them the dala fee which is 500 Tshs (this is like 0.2 USD cents).

So today as I was commuting to work, my bestie was escorting me to the dala station and there happened to be one dala at the station waiting for people to get in. We crossed the road and before I got in the dala my bestie had to take something from my bag, this took a little bit of time and I was surprised that the conductor just waited for me to get in without hushing me to hurry up as how other conductors usually do. This caught my attention and I was amazed by him.

We started taking off and the conductor began charging the passengers, I realized that most of the people were giving him big notes, my neighbour gave him 10,000Tzs (In Tanzania, the highest note is 10,000Tzs this is like 5 usd (followed by 5000Tzs note this is like 2.5 usd) So considering it was early morning, he just started working, he had all the rights to complain to the passengers about the big money notes but not a word from his mouth came out, not even a murmur or grunting sound, he kindly received the big notes and tried to find change for them. I had planned to give him a 5000 note because the coins I had were very far (you know us ladies, we have a lot of stuffs in our bags ha-ha) but I changed my mind and looked for the 500 coin and gave him that instead. Most of the conductors usually complain when they are given big notes especially in the morning hours, some even tell the passengers that they will not receive the big notes, so if any passenger with a big note is in, they have to either get off the bus or find some coins ha-ha.

And I just noticed he had a problem with his feet, it was kind of bent or something thus making him look different. This even touched my heart because most of people who are physically different are usually in defensive mode, they are always moody and harsh I think because they do not want to be looked down on. This one in particular really impressed me and left me with a smiley heart.

Complaining is usually not a good resort, I think it just worsen up things instead of making them better. I was reminded by this calm conductor that murmuring or complaining is a waste of energy really, instead of finding reasons to complain and murmur, we should choose to use the same energy to find reasons to stay calm in situations that tempt us to complain. Doing this will make us feel better and at peace.

Even the holy books urge us to do all things without complaining or murmuring (This is from the book of Philippians 2:14 in the bible) and always try our best to be at peace with everyone, and if you are to complain at least complain to God your creator not the creation (Surah Yusuf 12:86 in the holy Quran), he is beyond understanding and I believe he won’t judge you for complaining or sharing with him about what has disturbed you. I understand sometimes our heart gets overwhelmed with worries and we need to let out some of it. Going around complaining and whining about our problems to people who have no authority to solve them will only waste our energy. Instead, we should adopt a habit to talk about our problems to God, as He takes the burdens away and descends ease and peace upon the hearts of His created beings. If we must talk to people, we should talk only to those who can benefit us emotionally and provide aid.

Abraham Lincoln once said, “You can complain because roses have thorns or you can rejoice that the thorns have roses.”

Most people fall into the first category of complainers: always visualizing the negativity in any situation and despairing when things don’t go the way they plan. Very few consciously choose to see things from a different/positive perspective. Life is a fascinating cocktail of events, good and bad, with rejoicing and grieving, achievements and failures. But our attitude towards these situations decides the impact they have in our life, constructive or destructive.


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