Thursday, April 12, 2012

traffic cop

so I {Vanessa} got pulled over today.

we were driving to my friend kelly's house today to hang out with her boys and there is this one spot that i've almost always seen a traffic cop standing at, pulling people over. I've gotten pulled over once before and the cop just checked my license and wished me well.

not so today.

I was polite and gave my license when the cop came to my  window and asked me for it. then she proceeded to ask me to put on the brakes and checked my lights. then she came back and proceeded to ask me to put it in reverse to check my reverse lights. then she told me she was going to write me a receipt {ticket} because my back tires were not filled enough. I politely said that I was not aware that this was an illegal offense in uganda.
she told me she could "park my car" right now or write me a receipt and hold onto my license until I went to the bank and paid it and then i could pick up my license at the police station. I told her that I would be happy to go to the station and she could write me the receipt and I would pay the ticket there. she repeated what she had already told me.

she left to go back to her other traffic cop buddy and so I called jamie and told him what was happening. noah asked me why she had pulled me over at this point and I {somewhat bitterly} replied that it's because I'm white and she thinks I have lots of money to give her {which is generally the case the more I speak with other expats regarding this particular issue on the roads}.
she came back with an official receipt book and showed me that my offense was {on the back of the receipt} for not having a car that was fit for driving on the road.

at this point I was getting frustrated and feeling taken advantage of and again said that I was not aware that my tires were less than full and that I did not know that this was an offense that would get me a ticket. she then started saying that my brakes lights were out and reverse lights are out and this and that {she started pointing to random things on my car} and that my seatbelts - oh no, you're wearing your seatbelt. I told her that of course i was as it was unsafe not to.

she kept saying that she would write me a receipt, etc. etc. and then finally {I admit, with frustrated tears in my eyes} I told her to write me the receipt as she was leaving me no choice and I had two small children with me and had no other options. she just looked at me and then said,
you go to a gas station and buy new tires. I am forgiving you this time. but you go get those tires replaced.

I took off as soon as she gave me my license back before she changed her mind.

these are my tires when I got home today {no filling with air, no replacing.}

front tire

back tire

how are my back tires flat? 
she was totally looking for a bribe and to take advantage of the white woman. I was so angry when I got to kelly's house and looked at the tires for myself.

so this is life here in uganda. bribes are expected but today I'm glad I fought the system and also didn't get a ticket while I was at it.

Please pray for:
- police men and women who would stand up to the way corruption is just a part of the system here and that Christ-honouring leaders of integrity would start to infiltrate every working sector here in Uganda
- safety as we drive on the roads and for favor among the police here
- a humble spirit for us and not a heart of bitterness or frustration


  1. Woohoo! Way to be strong. I admire you in so many ways.

    1. NAD of course if code for Rhonda!!!

  2. After living in East Africa for 10 years, I would like to encourage you to keep up you stance on no bribery. It erodes the character of the whole country. God bless you in your work!

  3. Oh wow, well done! there just doesn't seem to be a 'safe' place anywhere, as really this is a spiritual battle! I'll be praying for this issue and for boldness to stand against it. Also protection as you do so.. I know the vulnerability you must feel! Stay grounded and focused on God's purpose and the way He will do it! love you!

  4. Way to go, Vanessa!
    You sharing this experience just underscores for us that we need to uphold you in prayer DAILY.



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