#25 Toyota Land Cruisers
This post was submitted by a reader calling himself Mr. Mlungu in Southern Africa.
The Toyota Land Cruiser… big and white and powerful. With everything you need to survive a marathon drive through the bush, this beast of a vehicle is more utilized by country directors and staff to plow through the streets of the capital city to get from meeting to workshop to off-site and then back to the office before heading home after a long day of capacity building.
Accessorized with everything from tow bars to winches, gas cans and spare tires on the top, the Toyota Land Cruiser is the dominate vehicle for aid workers. It builds credibility to show that they have the means to get to the people in remote parts of the country, even though in reality it will never go farther than 50 kilometers from the country office one or two times a year when people from home office are visiting or on a media trip to show the hard work of the aid agency.
The credibility factor is further enhanced by bright shiny stickers advertising the agency to which the vehicle belongs, acting as a totem to ward off corrupt cops and soldiers when the Ministry of Foreign Affairs won’t issue Diplomatic Plates for the aid agency vehicles. However, this has little effect when the bulk of law and order officials manning the check point are illiterate, leaving a flustered aid worker to instruct the driver to “tell them who we are and that we are here to help their country” in the local language.
The vehicle may leave a carbon footprint the size of France, but this is offset by the selfless mission it is being used for. As any experienced aid worker will tell you, going to the field in a Prius is not an opition because it could not handle the rugged terrain of the bush.