Check out my first published article in Ghana! After experiencing my first ride in the Tro-Tro (public transportation system in Ghana), I had to share my thoughts.
I peer out of the window of the third story of the glass building where the Business and Financial Times (BFT) resides and I think about the 55 minutes I have until I’ll have to face my biggest fear, the tro-tro. For the first week I have been here, I have avoided the frightening method of public transportation and have been taking taxis instead. Growing up in the small town of Bend, Oregon I have always driven to my destination and the first time I experienced a public bus was in college where I only had to travel one mile at the most. This morning, I was fortunate enough to be dropped off at the front steps of the building. After driving around Accra all morning to drop my classmates off at their internships, I lost track of all the turns that we took but finally found my way to BFT.
“Accra, Accra, Accra!” yells a man peeking his head out of a red tro-tro while shaking a finger. I sit in the first seat I see and the bench tips back, disconnected from the frame of the car. The tro-tro waited for about 10 minutes before starting the journey towards home. Luckily, I had a coworker, Ariel, who was also going to the University of Ghana, so she showed me how to get to my destination. The tro-tro continued to signal people walking down the street to join while driving. To signal the driver to stop, the mate would bang on the side of the car as he hopped out to let people on and chase after the tro-tro as it started to drive off. We stopped about 10 or so times and the seats filled quickly with nearly 15 people by the time I got off. Ariel and I got off a bit too early and walked down American House road for about five minutes before deciding to take a taxi the rest of the way.
During the tro-tro ride, terror overtook me as I felt my seat squeak and creak after every little bump we hit. Even though the ride home was full of anxiety and stress, it felt satisfying to immerse myself in the culture and travel the same way that Ghanaians do.