Saturday, 19 January 2013

Joys of Travelling

The night bus from Accra to Wa, mercifully ,showed no dreadful Nigerian movies, nor inane Ghanaian soaps this time and my ear plugs protected me from most of the repetitive, loud music played through the coach system throughout the night. I was so tired I slept longer than all my previous journeys combined. Arriving in Wa at 8am, I dragged my suitcase down the main street and arrived at the tro station at an earlier than ideal time. The market was only just coming alive and the tro took an hour to fill. Heaven forbid that it should leave for Nadowli with a spare seat, unpaid for. This is the time for people to arrive for business…..not leave it for the villages. I sat in the front seat with a sachet of water, a hunk of bread and a hard boiled egg and watched the station begin its day.

Most young men seemed to have a full time job greeting each other jovially and play fighting. Supremacy was obvious amongst them and the ones with any business oozed confidence. It was clear which ones would not be part of anything lucrative throughout the rest of the day. Some were busily loading and unloading various vehicles that arrived, blocked everyone’s way, and left in a hail of horn blasts.

The women, of course, were seriously going about their business of earning enough to feed their extended families. They carried everything on their heads, eggs, bread, water and small pouches of other liquid refreshment, fruit, toothpaste, tooth cleaning sticks, wrapped kenke and bolts of cloth to name but a few. Their eyes are everywhere looking for potential customers. Being white and therefore “rich”, I am an obvious target and they all make towards me in hope. Surely I must need all that they offer. I noticed an old man who had already spotted me from afar, gesturing his hunger and begging for cash. I am not able to refuse this one.

Some traders announce their goods with shouts and calls and others tap their box or bottle. In this case a bottle of clear liquid that promises to start your day with a shot of either neat spirit or some restorative “ herbal medicine”. It didn’t take much for me to refuse this!!

Finally, we are ready to depart. A couple of petrified goats have been tied to the roof rack along with some large baskets and bundles of something light and soft. The locals pay a few peshwas for their wares and belongings but a suitcase seems to demand more!  The tro “mate” who deals with everything except driving it, asked me for 2.5 cedis. Laughing, I pointed out that this was more than it cost to transport ME! I gave him one cedi and lifted the case into the back of the vehicle myself. He had no answer to that!!

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