Workhorse Ducato bus takes 52 children to school and back every day
A sturdy Fiat Ducato 21-seater bus has been crisscrossing Windhoek for the past four years, doing on average five trips every schoolday to take the children of Hope Village to their respective schools. After hours, the bus serves the school on outings and emergency trips to the hospital.
Busdriver Herman Peterson, on the right in the picture, has been driving for Hope Village for eight years. When the new bus came in 2014 he could cut down on his trip times and he stopped worrying about breakdowns. The previous bus was beyond its working years and in a dilapidated condition.
Peterson reports to Hope Village in Windhoek’s Goreangab township every morning before sunrise. For the next hour and a half he will commute 52 children from Grade 1 to Grade 12 to eight different schools in two trips.
Having mastered the fastest routes to all the schools, he makes his first from the Goreangab Township by way of Otjomuise Road through Windhoek West to Combretum Trust School where two of the children attend high school.
From there, he has to cut across the busy city centre to Eros Primary School and back again to MH Greef Primary School and Moreson Special School in Khomasdal. Although some of the children have to be left behind to be picked up during the second trip, they are all excited to see Peterson trusting that their beloved bus will make sure they are at school every day.
“When I initially started driving and picking up the kids from school eight years ago, we had a much smaller bus which required me taking between four or five trips in the morning, and the same number in the afternoon” he said.
“This bus has made a big difference for the kids. The old one was in a dilapidated condition but now they are comfortable and happy. These days I only take four or five or six trips per day. It pleases me to see that the Hope Village children are taken care of and have people who care about them,” he added.
With the health and safety of the children always at the forefront of his mind, he has made it a point to always drive carefully, and thus has never been in an accident before. However, he lamented that a lot of drivers, especially taxi drivers are reckless and always put the children at risk.
While the children are at school, he runs errands for Hope Village, picking up groceries or taking the sick to the hospital. Without this reliable transport, the sanctuary for vulnerable children would be in a serious predicament.
The Hope Bus was a donation from Liberty Life and Standard Bank in 2013.