The Ghana Files: Deet, smog and taxis.

Today started out slow but got a bit more lively towards the end. We spent most of the morning hanging out and not really doing much besides waiting for food to be ready.

After a meeting with our country representative, we decided to go for a walk in the area surrounding the hotel. It was a neat little walk, we passed many street vendors selling fruit, water and small household items. We passed a youth center where some kids were playing soccer, and another group was using large crushed bottles to slide down a skateboard ramp. The downside of our walk is that I kept breathing in the exhaust and dust from the cars passing by. I also used some deet bug repellent because we were walking just before dusk, and I was trying to be responsible.

After our walk, some of the volunteers decided they wanted to take a taxi to an internet cafe in town. I decided to join not necessarily because I need the internet, but because I thought it would be fun to explore. We had quite the taxi ride down here. There was a point where a tro-tro (an old bus crammed full of people, a primary mode of transportation in Ghana) decided it wanted to pass in front of us. A man leaned out of the passenger window of the tro-tro and started screaming something at our taxi driver, motioning forcefully to the space in front of our car. Our taxi driver did not like this, and started screaming right back at the men in the tro-tro. The tro-tro driver ignored him and tried to shove into the space, and our driver became furious! He reached out the window and started punching the side of the tro-tro repeatedly, screaming something I did no understand. The tro-tro shoved into the space anyways, and this aggravated our taxi driver even more. He started swerving, flashing his lights and yelling angrily. Another passenger leaned out of the back of the tro-tro and shook his fist at our taxi driver, as they drove off into the sunset. It was an interesting and kindof amusing exchange!

There was one thing I noticed about the cab drivers here which amazed me, particularly in a city as large as Accra. In a taxi cab in New York, you typically have to tell the cab driver the street you are going to and the avenue it is closest to. Here in Accra, you simply tell them the name of a place that you want to go. They seem to know every single place in the city, even our seemingly obscure hotel near the airport. Pretty impressive.

 

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