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Almost a TroTro Expert?

JULY 3, 2019

The wind blowing through the cracked windows, the 17 strangers packed side-by-side like sardines, and the wild Ghanaian driving all make for a pretty fun commute.

I was very intimidated to try the trotros for the first time as it all seemed very chaotic and I was nervous I would get lost easily. I eventually gained enough courage to ride a trotro and have been riding them ever since. Despite my initial fear or ambivalence towards this once mysterious form of transportation, I found it quite easy once I got the hang of it. Every day after work I walk down the street to meet one of my peers from the University of Oregon at the nearest trotro stop and wait for a mate to yell, “Madina,” towards the slowly gathering crowd of individuals anxiously waiting to go home. After a while a van pulls up quickly, the mate hanging out the open door yelling the words I’ve been waiting to hear all day. Most of the time it seems like the mate is going to fall out of the trotro. After boarding the crowded vehicle and the door is closed, the heat begins to settle upon its passengers. The combination of the heat and the rocking of the bus lulls the evening commuters to sleep easily. After the mate collects the money I sit and wait, feeling the wind blow my hair into the faces of the annoyed Ghanaians in my vicinity and watch the other cars pass by. On this drive home, it is easy to get lost in the colorful advertisements and local Ghanaians attempting to sell everything from plantains chips to pillows on the side of the street. On average, the drive to Okponglo Junction takes 40-50 minutes but it goes by faster than sitting in an Uber. Unlike taking a private lift home, the trotro is exciting and adventure-packed. Opposed to everyone having their earbuds in listening to music in their own world, trotro riders stay present. Even if they aren’t talking directly to fellow tortro riders, one can hear women talking about the latest gossip, hear a businessman talking to a colleague or hear an individual attempting to preach the word of God over the rushing wind, chatter and the roar of the engines.

There’s something humbling being in a jam-packed sweaty loud trotro surrounded by strangers.

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