Four chapas have passed by already. Finally the Copilot of the last one opens the front door and lets me sit comfortably beside the driver. Hanaffan must go back. Not sitting but “curved”.
In Maputo, a Chapa is a minivan used as public transportation. It can fit up to 30 people accommodated in the most uncomfortable positions.
We have already left the saxophone and want to return to the hotel. We walk a long stretch up to a main street, where we find the stop to take the transportation back to the zone where we are staying.
The first chapa stops, but when I hurry to go up, more people surpass me, entering first and not leaving room for me. The situation continues a couple of times. I think I‘m a little slow. I guess I think much before boarding and then I let other people to leave me behind and…outside. The truth is that I do not go up fast because I stop to think about how I’m going to accommodate myself once I’m inside the vehicle. I do not see space to stand or sit…
Usually, there is a driver and a person that collects the money. The collector goes on the backside with passengers, relocating people and receiving the money, also speaking out loud the stops to allow passengers to know where they are disembarking and also the places the chapa is going in order to pick up new passengers. The collector always travels curved and must get on and off at each station.
Chapas are typically fast, although the traffic often doesn’t allow them. Chapas do not respect the majority of the driving signals and play music loud. Public transportation is scarce in Maputo and the people suffers the consequences. Every morning and evening many individuals enter hurriedly in a chapa. All of them competing for a place, they need to get to work or just come back home. They are all pushed and tighten like sardines in a can, but still, no one complains, everybody cooperate and helps each other. Soon strangers begin a conversation and soon the sonorous laughter of passengers is heard. This is Maputo.
In this video we will show you a recount of some “chapas moments” in this city.