So, I have said that most Ghanaians are very nice by nature. This is true. However, you will sometimes see the ugly side of people when it is time to catch a troo-troo, the small van that runs through several different cities for less than .50 cent.
People will literally attempt to jump through the windows of the bus to get a seat. I have never seen anything like it. There is no line. Everyone just waits near the bus stop. You never know where along the curb the bus will actually stop. But when it appears and starts to slow down, a mass of people run in its direction. They rush the troo-troo with fiery. Yes, you will be pushed and pulled. Sometimes, even the people getting off are unable to move through the crowd.
In this situation, being nice and using the manners my mother taught me just does not work. There is limited seating and people will fight for seat. I think people act with such desperation because the troo-troo stops running at a certain time and it is the only affordable option for transportation. Most people do not want to walk long distances carrying their goods.
One night, I was so tired of missing the troo-troo because of the aggression of others despite being the first person in “line,” that I vowed I would be the first person on the next bus. As soon as I saw it, I broke into a run. I made my body tense so I would not be easily moved and pushed out-of-the-way. I hopped on as soon as the door swung open. I was breathing like I had just run a mile. It was pretty intense.
A little girl exiting the troo-troo began to squeal as the mob of people tried to squeeze by her. She was getting crushed. That made me frustrated and sad. I also saw an old woman (who of course could not move that fast) being bumped out-of-the-way by others trying to get a seat. This whole situation was pathetic.
And 2 nights ago..I had to wait awhile for a seat as well. When I finally made it near a troo-troo and was in the front, a girl literally began to pull me by my arms and shirt. Her brown, lean fingers burrowed into my flesh. I had to put my hands back on her to gain my footing and to keep my place. I swear my occasional inner city attitude seeped through. If not, she would have happily threw me on the ground just to claim a seat.
If you act weak, you will be taken advantage of. And if you have a temper, you will quickly lose it.
Originally Written on July 10, 2009
- Day one in Accra, Ghana (callmekinky.wordpress.com)