Mar 9, 2013

The Trotro ....

The Trotro ....

People can't believe that I've been to Ghana four times and have not ridden in a trotro, today was my first experience. There is even a Facebook Page set up by someone so people can post photos and stories about their Ghanian trotro rides.

So picture this.......( and you will have to imagine my descriptions because my camera battery ran out right when we waved the troto mate down to stop for our group) ..........we are at one of the major intersections of the market where cars, taxis, trucks, lots of motorcycles and trotos are all going by, some stopping, many honking, it is fast, loud, and you have to pay attention. The trotro system: a trotro driver and his mate drive a van a certain route every day, trotos come in all sizes, shapes, colors, they are not sponsored or regulated by the government, so all private enterprise. The driver is in charge of driving and the mate in in-charge of shouting their route name out the window and wave to people and look for their gestures that they want to get on that particular troto.

WE were looking for an Achimota bound troto and sure enough about 3 minutes after waiting on the busy corner, we heard Achimota and Lawrenda waved to the mate and the van stopped. The troto was bright orange, like a carrot. It had 5 rows of blue seats, the seat long with one jumper seat that folds up and down so people can enter and walk to the back. When we got on, there were 6 people on the troto. The mate ensures you get in quickly and he will point to where you are to sit to keep the flow of passengers in some sequence that he is aware of, based on where everyone says they are going. Since we were going a ways, we sat in the back.

The mate collects your trotro fare when he is ready and again based on how long you are going to be in the van. Our particular trotro did not have music, I am not sure many of them do. We traveled in this trotro for about 20 minutes and the cost was 90 Pesawes or 45 cents. We had a couple on the trotro, a Rasta man, a business man in a suit with a brief case, a lady that took up two spots in the van because she was selling plastic goods and loaded a bunch of them when she got in, of course all approved and managed by the troto mate and a lady way in the back row all dressed in white, she was beautiful and seemed so out of place.

When Lawrenda paid, the trotro driver did not give her the correct change, now mind she is 2 rows back from the mate, when she asked about the change and the discussion ensued, everyone in the trotro with exception of me and Stefan and Hannah participated in the discussion. It was la community discussion, the Rasta man next to me did the multiplication in English 90 x 4 = 3.60 and the spoke the rest in Ewe, eventually after 2 or 3 minutes of everyone participating in the discussing, Lawrenda got the correct change back. This is a Ghana way of life, people are always looking out for others, or sometimes they just want to be in your business, sometimes this is good and sometimes this is not so good.

We took that trotro to the Achimota station, then got off and negotiated with mate to get on a second trotro that would bring us directly to Kissemah. That was a very run down trotro, we traversed some rough unpaved roads for about 10 minutes, I closed my eyes and smiled. It was fun and uncomfortable all at the same time. We were always going slow because of the unpaved roads, so I always felt safe.

We were dropped off right in the middle of Kissemah, about 4 minute walk from the school and house. Needles to say, I was very hot when we got home. WE all came to the school office and had a cold Pure water and sat for a bit and enjoyed the cool afternoon breeze on the patio.

After a bit, I had mangoes and pineapple for lunch with Ceci and then I took a mini nap. There is lots of activity in the house compound, Mom's washing, hanging laundry, children playing, music playing - there is a nice breeze, it helps keep the day cool.

This evening I am hosting Kwame and the teachers and Ben, Johnny, and Lawrence and Hannah, the volunteer from Austria at the Guest Dinning Center at the University of Legon. This is our 4th time there, we've always had a wonderful time, good food and cold beers.

I will post pictures of the market soon. If you want to see a trotro, Google troto images and many will come up. I posted some long ago during my first visit in December 2011.

Thanks to all for your messages, emails and texts. Amazing tomorrow is Sunday and Tuesday I head home.
I am excited tomorrow we are going to the school site, I've heard from many that the painting that was done in December when Renee's parents and Tracy visited is very very nice. I will make sure my battery is charged up and that I have an extra battery. Ceci will go with us for the firs time to see the school, it will be exciting for all.

------ Short and sweet from my iPad ---------