The troski, fabled for their daredevil drivers, thrifty driver’s mates and of course, their much loved buses… or maybe not. Troskis are as iconic as the yellow New York taxi cab or the red double Decker in London. If you’ve been to Ghana and you haven’t used a troski, you haven’t really sampled the GH experience. If you are Ghanaian however and you haven’t used a troski as transport, you’re almost certainly wealthy so_ good for you.

The troski or trotro  is a commercial vehicle mostly in the mold of a bus that pretty much does what buses do, transfer patrons from point A to point B for money. They may come in many forms but really, when I picture a troski in my head, it’s always a white 207 Benz bus with patches of rust all around the chassis, cracked side mirrors and tires with different sizes, classic. There may some nice troskis around and some surprisingly posh but some of them are not best shape and some even a step away from the junkyard. The interiors are extremely uncomfortable and unless they were meant for toddlers and midgets, the spacing in troskis is awfully derisory at best especially for those, like me, with long legs. I have had to endure the most awkward of seating positions just to assume some measure of ease sometimes virtually kneeling sometimes just for some comfort.Your best bet for a nice comfy ride is to ride shotgun and even then, you may find yourself wrestling for space with the gear stick.

Another peculiar thing with the inner of a standard troski are the shards of rusted metal sticking all over just waiting to rip your new pair of jeans or even worse, give you a taste of tetanus. Dunno why people don’t really talk about that. I have suffered many a nick down the years but nothing serious. I suspect there are others that haven’t been so fortunate. In the event you decide to complain about the space or comfort situation the words of wisdom you are met with are “if its comfort you want, take a taxi”. Touché.

People consider troski’s vehicular coffins because of the accidents and deaths associated with them. Mind you, that assessment may be a tad harsh. That being said I do put my life in the good Lord’s hands before a ride in a troski. Let me add that troski’s have been involved in accidents with pedestrians, bicycles, motorbikes, other cars of course and get this, a friggin Airplane! I shit you not, an AIRPLANE. How that happened is a story for another day. To say the road worthiness of most troskis is questionable is putting it mildly. They look like they are being held together by string and some even shed some bodywork at every pothole and that doesn’t really bode well for us regular passengers. As bad as the breaks, tires and engines of troskis are their biggest problem and is of course human, the drivers.

Now when looking for adjectives to describe the troski driver, you could go with thick, inept, careless, impatient which I guess is okay since the world needs people with those dignified traits. Yet entrusting the lives of tons of passengers every day into the hands of the above mentioned personalities becomes a problem. First of all their utter disregard for basic traffic rules someone tell them “ GIVE WAY TO TRAFFIC ON YOUR LEFT, JEEZ. For all the messages they stick on their cars that’s one they could do with but chances are that would end up as a moving  joke.

For all the hustle and bustle of the troski experience, the most amusing part may just be the stations which are a hub of activity for a mixture of people and buses from areas far and wide. From the hardened troski veterans to the kinda clueless white folk trying to make their way around and the ever amazing “pharmaceutical reps” who sell wonder drugs that cure literally any and every sickness known to man; from cancer to, yes, even the common cold. come on guys, give Ghanaians some credit.

This observation on stations may seem a little indecent but the fights that break out at troski stations just about make my day. It can be pretty boring standing in line or waiting for a bus to fill up so it can take off so it’s nice to have some entertainment every now and then and the good people who take it upon themselves to settle their probably silly dispute with fighting provide that and hey, I’m not complaining, its enjoyable. This one fight I saw played out like a back stage assault in the WWE, one guy just rushes in and tackles another man to the ground, a ring of people form and voila, we have fight club. Most scuffles probably break out over stupid stuff  like food or rights over the station beauty, so the fights are not not always brutal _ not always. I did see one guy receive the pounding of his life in a clear mismatch.the other guy didn’t even fight back.  Not the best sight.

Yeah all shall pass…when my beamer comes

I do believe I may miss some of the flurry that came with the setting like watching the driver hot-wire their cars or the ridiculous banter between passengers but I guess cool air conditions and ample leg space afterwards wouldn’t be too bad. This is stuff I’m used to and I’m most likely stuck with this life for a couple more years but when I do get THAT BMW, it would not be soon enough.

Published by Delali Adogla-Bessa

Lover of the bleaker pleasures of cinema... and some good trash.

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