When I got to the Dodowa station at Madina and took my seat at the usual first row of the Trotro (Commercial Public Transport), I didn’t pay attention that there wasn’t any mate (bus conductor) around the car. The thing is, it’s quite usual to sometimes not know the particular mate for your own Trotro you’re boarding.
Just when I’ve adjusted well, she showed up apparelled in trouser, a t-shirt with a long sleeve overlaid, foots with hair partly scarfed and a loud lipstick. I must say a bit overdone but who cares. I took her for a station hawker, one loudmouth. Then she started calling out “Oyibi Estate” and when the bus got full and she jumped in, it dawned on me, she’s a Trotro mate, the first female one I’ve seen. It was like witnessing a whole new revolution.
I’ve heard severally about female public transport drivers and mates but I haven’t seen one up close let alone be in the Trotro with one. I doubt my experience will be anything more than an overemphasized excitement if you’re reading this and are from the Ashanti region, particularly Kumasi where it’s common. God knows here in Accra it’s so rare.
As we continued on our journey, I heard her talk, laugh and be frustrated by passengers and that grew my respect for her. She even was nibbling on cooked maize and corn looking fulfilled. I felt no sympathy for her as I would for people I think unfortunate some days. I was just won over by admiration. Here she was earning an honest living no matter how meagre. African women are some rare gems. I hear people say women particularly African women are becoming more and more useful income generators. I must agree with that.
As I got to my destination and dropped off I wasn’t thrilled. For her sake, I wish I was going further.
M’afua Awo Twumwaah