Man Ships Sioux Falls Bus To Africa

The bus is now being used for free public transportation

For most, taking the bus to school is part of the weekly routine.

But for one Sioux Falls man who grew up in Africa, the only transportation to school was his own two feet. 

“When you grow up in that situation, it’s not hard since you’re going to get used to it, and this is what you have to do,” says Liben Liben. 

Liben says his lifestyle growing up in Africa was a lot different than in the US. 

“It is a survival type.” 

He says kids in Ethiopia walk for two hours to get to school, and for elders, the walking distance can be even farther. 

“You see the older people walking about 10, 20 miles a day just to get something from the store and come back home,” says Liben. “When I see that, I would like to help them.” 

So Liben decided to purchase a Sioux Falls city bus, drive it to Baltimore, and then ship it oversees to be used for public transportation. 

“The boat [brought the bus] to south Africa and made a detour from south Africa to Mombasa, Kenya,” says Liben. “From Kenya we have to drive about 5 and a half days to cross the borders to Ethiopia.” 

The process took about 50 days total, but now the bus is being put to use. 

“[The bus] picks up anyone off the street, elders, kids that go to school,” says Liben.

Liben says public transportation is present in Africa, but in his tribal area, most can’t afford to use it.

“I think it’s really cool,” says Liben’s daughter, Habedasso Liben. “I feel like it’s a blessing for them. I couldn’t imagine going to school without a bus.” 

Liben says the Adams Thermal Foundation, a foundation that helps Ethiopian children living in poverty, inspired him to come up with his idea. 

He bought the city bus from Lund Truck Parts, who obtained the bus after it ran for many years. 

Liben says his goal is to ship more buses to Ethiopia in the future.