Dominique De La Fuente is a Community Economic Development (CED) volunteer serving in a pueblo in Atlántico, Colombia.
The CED program objectives require volunteers to work with vulnerable populations in rural sites to “promote economic opportunities within their networks, increase their business productivity, and adopt a culture of savings and money management,” according to Peace Corps’ project goal for 2016-2022. Peace Corps transportation policy exists for a reason, no doubt. It is a global policy and prohibits various modes of transportation that are most common in rural areas. For example, any travel on motorcycles is strictly prohibited and volunteers who are caught riding a motorcycle as driver or passenger are subject to being administratively separated from Peace Corps and sent back to the United States. Instead, volunteers are expected to walk or ride the bus with few exceptions. Motocarros are a great form of public transportation for arriving to one’s final destination after reaching the appropriate bus stop. These, however, are not available everywhere.
In the most rural sites in Colombia, there may not be paved roads, or the terrain may be difficult to navigate. Many times, the only available mode of transportation is as a passenger on a mototaxi or on a donkey. Both of which are strictly prohibited with dire consequences. So if you are a law-abiding Peace Corps volunteer who has to wait for a bus for several hours in extreme heat while sitting on a rock on the side of the road as dozens of people offer you a ride to your destination . . . you have to keep yourself from going insane. I like to think that I can entertain myself rather well when I have to wait for such a long amount of time.
Make Impromptu Parodies to Songs
One of my favorite things to do to occupy my time is to make parodies and sing about my struggles (at least in my head). Mind you, this exercise is not one that I claim to be even halfway decent at, but it makes me laugh and forget about being frustrated for a couple minutes while on the side of the road. I’m sure those more musically inclined would do much better at this. Sometimes I make parodies to Disney songs from movies like Hercules, Tarzan, and Moana, as well as other songs from pop culture. Here are a couple of my favorites.
In My Head – Jason Derulo
After a trip to a nearby town with an ATM, I had to wait for the bus while surrounded by dozens of mototaxis for over 2 hours because motorcycles (always) and motocarros (on main highways) are strictly forbidden by Peace Corps’ transportation policy. This parody is written from the perspective of a mototaxi driver who knows you cannot ride motorcycles but is trying to persuade you to let him give you a ride anyway. Sometimes the offer can seem like a great idea, but the consequences are grave. I would think twice before risking getting administratively separated because riding a moto was convenient.
I see you’re waiting for the bus (oh oh)
Ain’t that the reason you’re on this curb (oh oh)
You ain’t gon make it home before dark (no oh)
Got a better solution for ya, girl
Just leave with me now, say the word and we’ll go
I’ll be your driver, I’ll take you right home (right home)
You’ll get there faster and Peace Corps’d never know
I can see it going down, going down
No Air – Jordin Sparks
This song I like to call “No Bus.” Buses are great when traveling farther distances because the prices are significantly lower than taking any other form of transportation. Unfortunately, one cannot take a bus to every community meeting with associations that are just on the outskirts of town. In my case, walking to these events would often require a strenuous hike up mountainous terrain for at least an hour and a half. I wish I could say “yes” to more community events, but I can never travel to them. If you’re in the same situation and feeling frustrated, make a fun parody! Got to laugh to keep from crying, right?
If I should ride a moto here
I would get admin separated
Gonna have to just wait here on the curb with no bus
I’m here alone didn’t want to leave
Somebody would report me
If there was a way for Peace Corps to understand
Do you expect me, to work on my own, just me?
Cause my world revolves ‘round CED work
But it’s so hard for me to leave
Tell me how I’m supposed to leave with no bus
Can’t network here with no bus
Want to agree to everything, but no bus?
There’s no bus, no bus
Got me out here in the pueblo so deep
Tell me how can they meet without me?
If I ain’t there I’m no PCV
With no bus, no bus
No bus, bus
No bus, bus