Tuesday, January 04, 2011
Flashback: My Day as a Tro Tro Driver
I suppose as we get closer to the end of the sabbatical, we are justified in posting a few flashbacks about our time in Africa. One of the more memorable moments in our last days in Ghana was taking the helm of Richie and Maggie's school tro tro. Richie doesn't have a driver's license, so I took the helm to test the tro tro's road worthiness before letting the school kids pile into the van.
For a 20-year old diesel VW van, it was actually in pretty good shape. It had the original diesel engine, a fairly fresh paint job and only a slightly shaky transmission. Compared to a lot of tro-tro's I've been in (see post, "Tro Tro Transport"), it was top notch.
Richie and I crawled in, cranked her up, and rocketed through Ankaase and Ejuretia, up and around curves at not quite breakneck speed, picking up strangers and wishing that we could start a transportation business - being an obruni driver was a bit like being an extraterrestrial and the notoriety would certainly have given us a competitive advantage. Richie even had me driving back into the villages, which involved taking this massive, two-wheel drive van through offroad experiences suitable only for only the most rugged backwoods 4WD vehicle.
Yes, trees were backed into.
And yes, at one point eight villagers were coaxing me out of a tight spot.
But man, it was awesome.
PS - Thanks to Rachel Kesselman, Cy Johnson and FedEx for the quick inter-continental coordination to get the international driver's license (pictured above) in our hands. Africa wouldn't have been the same without it!