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Like the average Ghanaian, i frequently use the trotro and as a result I have had several trotro encounters. Some humorous others not so amusing. To those of you who may be wondering, “trotro” is the term by which most Ghanaians know the buses that ply our streets day and night, transporting passengers to and from their daily movements within the city. I just want to share briefly yesterday and today’s experiences.

So yesterday, the bus “loads” and takes off. A few minutes later on a journey that is supposed to last (give or take) an hour, a young man in the back remembers that he had left something at home and requests to get off. This he does without saying a word. The “mate” was also “unlooking” kraaa.

Barely 10 seconds later,

*exits mate’s head out the window in the usual trotro mate fashion* “Accra Accra Accra”

*the whole bus begins to protest*. “Wo nfa obiara o” “akwaa no atua ho ka dada” they all chorused.

So the people refused to let the new passenger on.

*The driver got angry and parked* “What is happening?” he demanded. The passengers told him that the mate charged the full fare from the other guy who had to get off so they wouldn’t let another person onto the bus. The  driver got mad at the mate, blah blah blah. Eventually we let the woman get on but we didn’t allow her to pay the fare. “After all, what is good for the goose is equally good for the gander” the gray-haired man sitting next to me tried to explain. “Why should the mate get to charge double for the same seat on the same journey” he rationalized.

*ASIDE* Just in case you were wondering, “mate” is our very own Ghanaian term for the conductor.

My friends from Europe and all those other places would be surprised about this. In Holland, London, etc., if you forgot something at home and you had to go back and get it, You had to wait for the next stop and hopefully catch the next tram or bus back home. DON’T DREAM ABOUT A REFUND. NOBODY CARES EVEN IF YOU GOT ON THE WRONG TRAM. As long as you got on, better pay your 3Euros and wait for the next stop.

But then again, these monies go to the government and they would be pumped back into the system so i guess its easy to overlook. The Ghanaian transport system is mostly private owned and these “extra monies” would make its way into an individual’s pocket.

In Ghana, people want a refund if they didn’t get to use the service for which they paid. Perhaps, if the mate had charged the fare from the station to the junction where he got off, there would have been no protests.

Today’s occurrence was both funny and annoying. It reminded me of that expression I learnt back in school. First time I heard it, i was in JSS

Your rights end where another’s begins! 

This young man, bless his heart, was sitting right behind me,on the back seat”. And like the pharisees, he prayed. He was LOUD. And he kept going on and on and on.

Let me say this, and in no uncertain terms that I, OSTWIN AWOLEBA ADDA, AM NOT AGAINST PRAYER IN ANY WAY WHATSOEVER.


it would amaze you if you took a poll on the bus. 99.9% of the people would be Christians but we were equally annoyed by this guys behavior. I’m pretty sure most of us said our prayers before leaving the house. This guys misconduct was just unacceptable. I have prayed in a bus on occasion, that is not the way to go. You don’t disturb everyone if you need to pray in public. Especially not early in the morning on a trotro full of people going to work and quietly making plans as they go. Personally I was reading a book and i didn’t appreciate the rude interruption.

Lets learn to respect ourselves wherever we may find ourselves.

ESPECIALLY ON THE TROTRO. You don’t have a clue the kind of person it is who is sitting next to you.


Have you had any unique trotro encounters lately..

Please Share…