Eko Encounters: Motions In Mushin

31 August 2012

Last day for the family, who have been on their first Eko holiday. It has been a busy period still at work so I hadn’t had a lot of free time, but I believe the best of it for the children was that they got to see me daily, again. The boys have now started referring to ‘when Daddy used to stay with us’ when they recalled some past happenings. Food for thought for me.

So today I decided to leave early. ‘Early’ for a railway worker (my former boss’ description for technical/factory managers) like me means around 5pm, which again translates into 5-5.30-6pm, as I explained to my friend Hannah. But just as I was about to leave the office, Sam, my QA supervisor reminded me that we had planned to visit one of our colleagues who had been hospitalised. I take my promises seriously.

The address given was on Omowunmi Street, Phase 1, Behind Zone D Police Station, off Alafia Street, Mushin.

Neither Sam or Nasiru knew the exact place but armed with this, we quickly found the street and then in a matter of minutes, located the house number and our colleague, who was really happy to see us.

The neighbourhood reminded me of my growing up days in Kotobabi. But what is different in that even in the midst of narrow streets and alleys, street naming and house numbering works in Eko. I still can’t understand why even in the most urbanised parts of central Accra, a awake seller’s absence can jeopardised the directions one is given. The bearded slangburger who is in charge of Ama’s household, just as his predecessors, has failed to deliver the most needed street naming project for Accra.

Readers of Eko Encounters know that the okada and its ways is my pet subject, but today, the damfo (commercial mini buses, akin to trotros) won the day.

In the ever-present traffic, with the two lanes of vehicles going in opposite directions almost touching, such that I could reach out of my windows to kiss a passenger in the car on my left, the slim space taken by a one logologo line of okadas, a damfo stops abruptly on our left. The driver was alone in the mini bus. Quite unusual. Maybe he had closed for the day?

Immediately, the damfo behind him tried to push the faulty bus with its bumper. Reverse towing? The driver of the faulty damfo got down, opened his boot, takes out a stick to hold the tail door in opened position…

‘What is he doing?’ I asked my ever faithful Nasiru.

‘He wants to put fuel in the carburettor so that when they push it, the car can start,’ Nasiru responded, not missing a beat.

All of a sudden, other drivers surrounded him. There was no way they were going to allow him that luxury of time to tend to his car in that hold-up. About five good Samaritan folks, with interest in packing the man’s problem aside, came around and asked him to sit so they push. The other damfo driver got the cue, tucked the bumper of his bus against the back of the faulty one, stepped on the gas and started pushing! Away bus!


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