Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Officially, Operation Tro-tro

If it weren't already, now it's official.

Aside from misspelling my middle name, this is one of my better ID cards. You are no longer allowed to smile for your VA license picture, so I ended up looking like a convicted felon on that one.

Following registration and lunch, we set off on a major adventure. We visited a grocery store and two very traditional markets.

Eighty percent (or more) of the adventure, however, was getting to and from those places. We had our first experience with Tro-tros, a preferred mode of transportation for many Ghanaians. Based on our first encounter, tro-tros = hot, crowded, and slightly questionable minibuses. The good news is they are inexpensive and usually get you from point A to point B.

I say usually for two primary reasons. First, tro-tros are typically unmarked. You know where a tro-tro is going based on a hand signal the driver makes out of the window as they approach a stop. (At this point, I know three signals. Of those three signals, I only know where two of the final destinations are actually located.) Second, Accra is home to a lot of traffic and many roads that are in poor condition. At their discretion, many tro-tro drivers choose alternative routes based on traffic or the condition of the road. This means that I must 1) know where I want to go, 2) know the corresponding signal for that location or a stop on that route, 3) locate a tro-tro with the correct signal that has room for me (and however many people with whom I am traveling), AND 4) hope the driver does not decide to take a short/long cut that skips my stop. Additionally, these four things must happen quickly, as tro-tros only stop long enough for someone to get on or get off. You snooze, you lose.

I hope to become confident in my tro-tro “rider-ship” by March when Mumee visits. Game on, tro-tros.

1 comment:

  1. what a fun trip to the DMV we had over the summer to get our fantastic new and supposedly improved id's..oops..sounds like a fun adventure so far, can't wait to hear more! miss you so much!