On a rainy day like today, taxi drivers decide to exploit people who are at the mercy of the weather. At the same time, empty trotro vehicles have their mates shouting “oyaalo” and “wukor”! The buses are getting full rather faster than usual. This makes me wonder if there’s any chance of ever getting home. A day like this is when strangers unite under one little shed waiting for the rains to subside. It is on this day I recount all my not-so-happy vehicular experiences. I reminisce on these as I wait patiently for some form of transportation save me from this weather.
I would love to be a part of the Uber family. However, my national service allowance won’t allow me to live the lux life. I, therefore, resort to the trotro lifestyle which is not very conducive; hence all my imminent whines.
I wake up every morning with a spark of anticipation that our roads and transportation system would get better. But by the time I walk from my house to the nearest bus stop, the sun evaporates such a thought from my head and replaces it with profuse sweat, messing up my meticulously done makeup.
What kills me is the annoying amount of time it takes for a trotro with enough seating space to pull up for the waiting passengers to get on. This is the part of the trotro experience I call survival of the fittest and swiftest. It is when you will see the young and old struggle to get on the bus to occupy the limited available empty seats.
I’m always particular about that unconscious smirk on people’s face after they have won the battle and sit comfortably in the bus waiting for it to move. I always laugh because aluta continua; the struggle would continue in the evening.
The bus begins to move and the fresh breeze comes in to sweep the struggle we faced a few minutes back from our memories. People like me resort to social media for companionship whiles others sleep to make up for the short night they had. The rest, well, I guess they just sit and enjoy the ride.
These moments of relaxation don’t last. The bus comes to a halt, or, if we are lucky, it begins to move at a very slow pace. Yep! The tales of the never-ending Accra traffic.
Frustration and tension set in. Drivers get cranky and honk angrily at each other, passengers reach into their bags for the lightest material to fan themselves with and others become accurate time keepers, checking their time every second.
If you’re unfortunate to be seated amongst very fat people, your story is different.
Other people in the different story category include people who have a test or a job interview their lives depend on.
Or those who are unfortunate to be running stools that morning and the bus stops at every point to pick up or drop off. I feel deeply sorry these people. I know what that cold feet and sweaty body feel like. I’ve been there and back.
On a rainy day like this, I am trapped, thinking about how this trotro life makes me question my spirituality. I mean, I am very religious. However, when a preacher man pops up in a hot bus you’re trying to put up with and starts screaming into your ears and spraying you with his saliva, (forgive me, Father) I feel more drawn to Hell than to Heaven.
As for the vendors who won’t stop shouting testimonies of their products into my ears because I suppose their agenda is to render me deaf; I leave them in your hands.
Finally, on a rainy day like this, when you are tired from your national suffering job, the rain has beaten you a bit, and you have spent thirty minutes managing under a small shed providing shelter for twenty-five people while it can only take ten, and a bus pulls up, you smile. And that, I did.
I get on board only to realize that the roof is leaking and the windows cannot close. Geez! I curse all the ancestors and future generations of the bus owner, the driver and his mate. Nothing can describe my disappointment enough. All I ask myself is “me ko yε anaa se ba me yε?”
On a rainy day like this, I say a silent prayer that our roads get better. I pray that the Ayaalolo bus system sees the light of day soon.
By Aggor Yorm