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Opinions of Thursday, 9 May 2019

Columnist: Victor wellrich

The beauty of traffic in Ghana

The dread of some Ghanaians to and from work is to enter a long queue of vehicles on the road. A journey of 20 minutes becomes a journey of an hour. Have you ever calculated the time to use to and from work? ‘I have!’ I use an average of 2 hours to journey to and from work everyday; I can imagine yours is worse huh! Whilst someone journeys from Kumasi to Accra within 4 hours, you journey within Accra with same hours spent…such a pity!

Anyways, enough of the sad traffic stories; let us talk about the beauty traffic situations bring to us in buses(trotro), taxis and private vehicles.

RAINBOW COLOUR EFFECT:

Like Colours beautify the canvas of the artist so does the array of vehicles in traffic create appealing sights in our eyes. Standing at Kwame Nkrumah overhead or any overhead in the city during rush hours at 7:30am and 4:30pm, you will see the red display of brakes lights, white and umber display of front lights and a mix of yellow-red-blue sprayed taxis and different colours of other cars.

To the eyes, it is beautiful. One of these days, do not be in a rush to leave office or home; just find a good spot at any overhead walkway and enjoy beauty created out of mess. Psychologically, I think it is distressing and as you take a leisurely walk along the foot bridge, you dense yourself into a deep meditation about life.

The interesting thing about the traffic effect is that during the day, the effect is clear literal but during the evening, it can be dim and bright. People with good cameras can take and enjoy the scenery of traffic and use as a project theme. If it was not for traffic, I would not have known that there is beauty in every confusion.

MYSELF TIME:

Before starting your day and after a hectic day, you want to release stress by any means possible; for must people in Ghana, the best place to do that is in the car. Imagine a typical hectic day…you plug in your headset or tune up your radio to listen to your favourite songs; for some using the public transport, they watch that series they never get time to watch, others too browse social media and like all the pictures they see.

Whatever your option, you certainly enjoy yourself till your destination. There is nothing better than to tune up and repeat songs over and over and over till you forget the traffic honks, shouts from drivers and hawkers around you.

To make your journey even more fun, you grab a chilled ice-cream or drink and popcorn from your side window where the hawkers are standing by…you know what I mean! Lol! One of the best napping times is when you are a passenger in a bus or taxi; if you locate yourself at the extreme corner of the bus, you can position yourself well for a good nap. Lol!

Some people sleep so deep in busses that you can hear their snores and the annoying part is that they even push you in their sleep to make way for more space. Annoying! Too much comfi, I guess! Have you ever caught yourself doze in a public bus or taxi before? Lol! You, instinctively, will look around to see if no one saw you nodding to nothing. Now that’s enjoyment in traffic!

MAKE PALS:

It can be easy making acquaintances in public transport than in private ones. During football championship seasons like world cup, UEFA and champions league, the bus or what we call ‘trotro’ becomes a mobile café. Soccer fanatics will employ the driver to tune in to a suitable football commentary radio station or you will find others plug in their headsets to listen to their choice of radio. Immediately it is half-time or a goal is scored, everyone joins in the coaching business.

Passengers suddenly become coaches and players; they narrate and predict the match amongst one another in the bus. Passengers who, hitherto, did not know each other, become friends to support an argument or against it. Conversations can go on till everyone alights one at a time, but with smiles and sometimes disappointment on their faces. I have experienced heated arguments in trotro before; I have also met acquaintances on a bus which resulted in business.

I have heard that people have met their life partners on busses and taxis. (if you know anyone like that, please share your story at the comment area). In taxis, the driver becomes your best friend; Try this… pick a taxi and then ask the driver how his day has been or make a comment about the economy and you will experience the shock of your life; the driver will talk till you get to your destination. Lol!. It happened to me once; I only asked how the driver’s day was and he bombarded me with his marital and economic issues.

I ended up becoming like a professional counsellor during the trip. Interestingly, such conversations can kill boredom as well as upset depending on your mood. But when you know that your journey is far, the best way to kill boredom is to chat with the one next to you. If you want to catch a new pal this season, do it in traffic; that’s the beauty of trafiic. (share your experience with us)


TRAFFIC IS MONEY

As you drive to work and from work daily, some people have their workplaces by the road; they are called hawkers. The hawkers say that best time to make sales is when there is heavy traffic.

Every typical traffic zone in the city is occupied by hawkers selling anything imaginable, from; toiletries, food, stationery, paintings, furniture, toys, etc. these hawkers walk to and fro hoping to catch an eye that is interested to buy something. An egg seller can make an average profit of 30ghc each day.
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The traffic hawking job is full-time for some hawkers. Kwesi, a hawker I buy socks from told me that in the morning, he sells socks to workers at Kwashieman traffic light from 6am to 10am. He returns in the afternoon to sell handkerchiefs and face towels; during rush hour in the evening, he sells electronics. He said that he makes enough money to take care of his needs and that of his family. He confessed that the street hawking is a risky job but the traffic makes it quite safer.

Making money during traffic is the way to go for some thousands of Ghanaians because time is money…traffic is money too. Before you condemn the heavy traffic you experience, remember that someone is making profit and hopes that the traffic continues so they can make more profit. Lol! That’s the vicissitudes of life! To street hawkers and beggars, traffic is the most beautiful experience they can ever have any day.

EAT:

Thinking of what to eat for breakfast, lunch or supper? … no worries, you can do that in traffic. Recently, I was in a bus on my way home and I realized that I would get home after 8pm because of the traffic; so I decided to fix supper in the bus. Just at Tesano traffic light, i bought ice-cream, water and ‘Adinkra Pie’ and I was good to go.

I have seen some people buy; ‘komi’ kenkey and fish, toilet roll, eggs, apple, fruit salad, shoe rack, shaving blades, bread, egg, porridge and beverages, mobile phones and accessories, shirts and shoes, books, cosmetics, amongst others. – what have ever bought in traffic? - Have you experienced how hawkers flash items in your face just when your eyes meet? Sometimes, I feel that these hawkers have a way to know your heart desires; in a hot and condensed bus, a hawker just flashes cold water, drink or ice-cream in your face…what will you do?

In as much as it is bad for hawkers to sell at road sides, they say that the demand for items come from passengers. (wherever there is demand, there is supply) Hey critic! There is some level of comfort when you can buy anything you want or need in traffic; if you have a better solution, let us know but that is the beauty of traffic in Ghana.