Categories: Duncan Burr

Pause for self-assessment

A FEW weeks ago we were highly impressed to find ourselves driving along a very new section of dual-carriageway on the main 900km highway from Dar-Es-Salaam, Tanzania to Nairobi in neighbouring Kenya. 

This, the primary route in Tanzania, carries a vast amount of highly diverse traffic, little of which would have any chance of passing the Spanish ITV, on a poor-quality, pot-holed road with few crash-barriers protecting even the most extreme roadside chasms, and frequent, utterly vicious speed-humps, so that attaining an average speed above 50 kph is quite challenging.

The appearance therefore of this new 14km section of dual-carriageway between Kilimanjaro and Arusha, just as dusk was falling after a hard day’s driving, was a welcome relief, allowing an immediate increase in speed. But not for long! Surely that couldn’t be headlights approaching in our lane, could it?

But yes it was; and we just managed to squeeze back into the line of traffic we’d been passing, before a bus, two lorries, several cars and an assortment of miscellaneous other traffic thundered by in the opposite direction! How dangerous was that? But I later gathered that for many, the four lanes of a dual carriageway are treated with flexibility; if your carriageway’s busy, then it makes sense (to the East-African mind anyway) to cross the central reservation and use the spare capacity of the other lanes!

There was an acknowledgement by most I spoke to that it was wrong and potentially dangerous for anyone else to drive the wrong way down a dual carriageway, but pretty well everyone reserved the right for themselves to do so if circumstances made it beneficial for them. But before being too critical, isn’t there just a little of this logic in each and every one of us?

How often we condemn the wrongdoing or ‘sin’ we see in others, whilst finding excuses to justify our own failings. How much we could all benefit from a little bit of honesty in our own self-evaluation, with the words of the ancient confession: ‘We have left undone those things which we ought to have done; And we have done those things which we ought not to have done; And there is no health in us.’

Duncan Burr is Licensed Lay Reader for the Anglican Chaplaincy of Costa Almeria and Costa Calida (further detail available at www.mojacarchurch.org) and may be contacted at d.burr@albox-online.net

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