Tanzania Transit

The disparate lives of three passengers aboard a cross country train

Tanzania Transit On board a sleeper train crossing Tanzania, the stories of three passengers unfold. Rukia is an entrepreneurial woman, on her way to begin a new life. Isaya is an old Masai man heading back to the bush with his grandson. Peter, a powerful preacher, makes money by letting his followers pay for his services. This microcosm offers a glimpse into their lives as each character moves towards an uncertain future in this precarious society.

“I wish I had a small pistol to shoot any man who tried to approach me. I wish I could build my own road where I could walk without stress.” Rukia, a Kenyan woman constantly fighting to be considered an equal to the men that surround her, was thrust into an arranged marriage at the age of fourteen and treated like an animal ever since. She remembers how she “cried, my eyes were red and so swollen I could barely see”, and how she had to be nursed by her sister after such a traumatic ordeal, terrified of her father and husband.

On the poorest part of the train a Maasai elder is returning home to his tribe, but his travelling companion, his grandson William, aspires to perform on stage in the city rather than live according to the traditions of his family. Having previously been told “we are not human and spat on”, the pair are confronted by fellow Tanzanians sitting beside them and labelled as “killers”, being from a tribe of poor reputation.

Meanwhile in first class, charismatic preacher Peter, who earlier in life was the leader of a large gang of boys, captivates his audience with promises of vanquishing “demons, evil spirits and witchcraft” whilst also shilling his book.

Despite the desperate personal situations that have left each of the characters feeling close to hopeless, they continue to resist the preconceptions with which others have burdened them. As their journey approaches its terminus a startling incident forces a premature stop; but the adversity that the situation brings to the passengers could prove crucial in cementing their sense of unity.

This site uses cookies. By continuing to use this site you are agreeing to our use of cookies. For more info see our Cookies Policy