Taxicab Spirituality – Human Suffering

​Today, I ​chatted about human suffering with a random taxi driver in Bamako, Mali.

There was a woman begging with two small children at a very busy intersection in Bamako, one child nearly got hit by a car right beside us. 

My heart was in my mouth as it all unfolded so rapidly, just meters away. The two foot high toddler ran fast enough to barely clear the potential tragedy. 

I commented about how so many people suffer through difficult lives. 

There was silence for a moment. Then after some reflection the taximan simply, and softly utters, 



Malians are a very religious minded people, so it caused no tension when I shared that i thought God cares for the suffering of people. He is not at all distant from people’s pain, as some seem to think. This is why we can pray to him for those suffering ones, and about our own pain also.

He kind of ooked at me when I said this, wanting to say something, but he didn’t. Most taximen have learned to have a tight lip. 

I asked him if he was a good Muslim. 

He said we was.

I asked him if he would pray for me…. and I would pray for him too…  

He never really answered the question. 

However, Allah must have heard and answered his prayer for the suffering ones, since he did not have change for my 1500 cfa taxi fare (a common game here) so I had to leave him with my 2000 cfa.

Glad i could help alleviate his suffering. I’ve never really seen myself as the source of an answered Allah prayer before. Hummmm.

I’d have preferred for the woman with the children to have gotten that 500 cfa rather than him via a shafted taxi bonus.

Goes to show neither of us are probably that good at our respective spiritualities. 

I’m a bad pilgrim for not giving the lady something. So maybe God made me put my money where my mouth was in another way perhaps?

He might be a poor Muslim also, for not giving his extra fare grab to the needy lady.

The young taxi man who drove me from the airport last night, is homeless. 

He is the nephew of a friend who shared with me today that his nephew lives and sleeps out of his taxi on the dirty streets of Bamako. Great life. 

Some people suffer, and so badly. 

While we are happy to existentially chat about it….. in a taxicab.

“The poor you will always have with you, and you can help them ANY TIME you want.” ~Jesus    

(Mark 14:7)

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