“It is better for you to travel by public transport.”
The person I am meeting today tells me a private taxi will cost up to 150 GHC (30,00 EUR) and public transport only 30 GHC (6,00 EUR) to reach. The hotel receptionist directs me to the nearby-est VIP bus station, bringing me straight and air conditioned to Winneba where my appointment takes place.
Upon arrival at the bus station, the taxi driver who took me from the hotel, suddenly gets a brainwave and tells me he has a better idea.
This is the time where only two things can happen. Or luck will come your way and you travel in pure luxury or, within the next minutes, you find your self in a slight uncomfortable situation.
Ten minutes later I am seated in a small 20-people-packed bus, all looking at me like entertainment could not have been more sweet. Big brown eyes stare at me while the children in the back carefully touch my hair.
Full equals departure so the bus takes off to Winneba but only after 3 more men squeeze in and both tires, on the right side of the bus only, are aired. Randomness at your doorstep.
I am checking the health of my neighbouring passenger. With Ebola running through West Africa you can not be too careful and travelling by public transport isn’t the best way to protect yourself. This is a stupid idea, I hear myself think.
Luckily another taxi diver who drove my from the airport at my first night in Accra had shared his view on this matter. He told me Ebola can never come to Ghana because Ebola is a disease of fighting countries. And in Ghana. Exactly. They don’t fight.
With this wisdom in mind I exchange some “How are you’s and feeling allright’s?” with my lady neighbour but the surrounding views will soon grab my attention and make me daydream about the coming months in Ghana. The passengers rebound from by my sudden appearance in the bus and some even fall asleep.
Everything is quiet and peaceful.
Sharing and Caring
Suddenly a fiery debate in which all passengers discuss the best stop for me to get off, has arisen. I checked with my neighbour the best stop for me to leave the bus in order to reach the university. She told me the police station is the best place to alight but others clearly disagree.
Men and women strongly defend their pick and by the time we have finally reached the bus stop, (ironically the endpoint of the bus), everyone knows where I am heading to next.
Now, privacy has never been an issue in Ghana and it is often something you share with others but this time it has come to an extended level. People who left the bus and travel into the same direction are now gathering around me so we can all share the costs of a taxi to reach the university. I have become a landmark for university-direction-travellers.
An old man grabs my hand and tells me he doesn’t want people to cheat me. Together with his wife and a student, we share a taxi and he walks me all the way to the building my appointment is taking place.
The person I met today was right. Travelling by public transport is better for me and I decided to take the same bus back to Accra.
The whole trip cost me 14 GHC (2,80 EUR) but the travel was priceless.