Tuesday, February 7, 2012

Driving the Struggle Bus

Describing difficulties in terms of struggles is a classic Emmaism, or TEM (total Emma move). I routinely say, "I'm driving the struggle bus" or "Struggle city"...or, if I am really struggling, I say "The struggle bus is parked on my head."

Today, I was driving the struggle bus.

My day started at 6:40 AM. After pressing snooze twice, throwing some clothes on, and grabbing breakfast on the street, I arrived at my 7:30 AM lecture. I had high hopes for the second week of classes, but to my dismay, the classroom was empty--not a professor or student in sight. I waited for 45 minutes and then trudged back to my hostel. 

Dear University of Ghana,

I would actually like to see what your lectures are like! I actually want to go to class.


Around 10 AM, I ventured outside of the University (by myself) to visit the place where I would like to volunteer. While most Ghanaians have email and cell phones, if you want something done, face-to-face communication is your best bet.

I proceeded to the tro-tro station and waited for an hour until the tro-tro I was looking for arrived and had room for a passenger. The tro-tro took me to a junction called 37, about half way to where I needed to go. Usually, I could find another tro-tro to take me the rest of the way; however, I growing impatient in the now afternoon sun and didn't want to find and wait for another tro-tro. I decided to take a taxi the rest of the way. I found a driver, but he was not having any of my bargaining. I eventually accepted his inflated Obroni rate, and was finally en route to my final destination.

Upon arrival at the center, the administration had not received my email and attached CV. I had cced myself on the email and asked if it would be possible to log onto my email to resend it. Unfortunately, that was against the center policy. The woman informed me that there were several internet cafes down the road.

...Forty five minutes down the road I had not seen a single internet cafe. I asked for directions and followed them, but only found myself twenty more minutes down the road and still without internet access. I proceeded to ask another man for directions. He said he didn't want me to be misdirected and accompanied me twenty more minutes down the road, delivering me to the doorstep of an internet cafe. I was so appreciative and really touched by his kindness. I'm not sure what would have happened had I not found this man.

I paid for thirty minutes worth of internet. After less than two minutes, I had forwarded my original email to the center and called to verify that they had received it this time. I then made the trek back to the school. I met the principal administrator of the center, she was impressed with my CV and told me to expect a call sometime tomorrow. We shall see if I get a call...

I walked out of the center and considered my transportation options. I was unsure where the nearest tro-tro stop was and I was really not in the mood to be taken advantage of by another taxi driver. I hate assuming that people take advantage of me. There are exceptions, but many Ghanaians know that we don't know their system and will ultimately pay to get where we need to go. My stubbornness kicked in. I can be quite hard-headed at times and I really value independence. So, I walked back to 37. It took about 30-40 minutes.

Along the way, I was hissed at, whistled at, approached by men asking to be my friends, and someone even threw something at me...it kind of bounced off me/squished on my knee, so I think it might have been a grape.

When I arrived at 37, I caught the correct tro-tro within fifteen minutes. I could see light at the end of the tunnel. Then, the tro-tro driver skipped my stop. The next stop after the one adjacent to the edge of campus is about twenty minutes up the road, so I got off there and walked back. 

STRUGGLE BUS. Aigh yigh yigh. At the end of the day (literally, this expedition took over four hours), I made it safely to and from my destination by myself. #victory

Upon my return, I rewarded myself with a fanchoco, a Ghanaian treat in a plastic rectangle that resembles frozen chocolate milk. I thought I had earned it.

Every day here is an adventure.Nothing I can't handle, but let me tell you, my dogs are barkin'! If you have never heard that expression, my feet really hurt. I wish I had a pedometer, today would have been a bofo day!

1 comment:

  1. awww Em you poor thing! That sounds totally exhausting, but look at you! Big girl status right there! I'm proud of you, but don't travel alone again...sorry, I'm such a mom sometimes. I hope you get a call about the volunteer work, they would be lucky to have you!

    All my love,