TACOMA, Wash. — The powder blue Peace Bus that belongs to Tacoma humanitarian Kwabi-Amoah-Forson has been sidelined since December. That's when the engine of his 34-year-old Mitsubishi van dramatically called it quits.
"I am at a stoplight and tons and tons of smoke are coming out of the Peace Bus and I'm trying to figure out where it's coming from, what's going on, people behind me can't see," remembers Amoah-Forson. "I pull over and sure enough it seems as if I've blown a head gasket."
Over the years, Amoah-Forson has used The Peace Bus to deliver breakfast cereal and books to kids and blankets to the homeless. He even took the van to Washington DC last year on a journey to meet the president.
But the mechanic says the engine is shot.
"I have a decision, to get a new bus or a new engine," says Amoah-Forson, who then taps the side of the van with his knuckles. "The Peace Bus isn't going anywhere. This has to stay here."
A friend, Sophia Baye, has set up a GoFundMe account to raise $15,000 to replace the engine. At the time of publication, the "Help Save The Peace Bus" campaign has raised $4,120, which is actually more than Amoah-Forson originally spent to buy the van.
But he says the van is worth more than its Blue Book value.
"This is in my estimation the symbolic gesture of peace for our community, Puget Sound, and America as a whole," he says."So I decided to keep the Peace Bus. But I'm on the hunt for an engine!"
Another mechanic says he found an old Mitsubishi van in a Tacoma junkyard and it may be possible to swap out the engines.
Until then, The Peace Bus and its mission is parked on the side of the road.