I was driving on Waiyake Way in Nairobi, Kenya. Drawing close to the turn off to the Maryknoll Society House I encountered a huge traffic jam. “Jam, " by the way, is one of the most commonly used words in Kenya! Several trucks had broken down and were blocking the four-lane highway. Every vehicle that reached this spot started passing the trucks on the left or on the right, squeezing through the narrowest gaps and passageways.
I followed suit. As I squeezed my Toyota Corolla Sedan through on the left, I had to drive off the tarmac and onto the gravel footpath. Inching along, my left wheels suddenly slipped off the gravel and into a dry cement drain that is used for the excess rainwater. My car tipped to the left and stuck fast. In fact, both front and back left tires were off the ground. Soon a crowd gathered to watch my predicament. With the jam, many small buses with their passengers were stuck on the highway. I had visions of telephoning the Automobile Association of Kenya. Then, after a two to three hours wait in the hot sun, a maintenance vehicle with a winch pulley would come and lift my car out of the cement drain.
But then I had an inspiration: do it “the African Way.” I spoke with the driver of one of these small buses stuck in the traffic jam. Within seconds, 20 men surrounded my Toyota. With some intense heaving, they lifted my car out of the cement drain and back onto the tarmac highway. I gave the driver of the small bus $40 for him to divide among his many helpers and was immediately on my way. Surely, it was less than ten minutes from start to finish.
It could only happen in Africa.