Posts Tagged ‘tales of an Accra taxi driver’

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They call me ‘Night Rider’ because I work at night and I’m not afraid of anything! Sister, if I tell you the things I’ve seen and battled whiles driving at night, you will marvel. But I am not afraid of anything… Odeshi! Uhuh… that’s me, Night Rider.

Growing up, I watched African movies that involved drivers stumbling upon atrocious encounters with armed robbers and ghosts. Talk of superstition, it’s more alive than it was before. Whoever told you superstition is fading as a result of Western cultures, deceived you. I’d rather say it looks refined now.

Night Rider refused to tell me his actual name, but his nickname is cool enough, isn’t it?

As his name, he’s had quite unspeakable encounters, but he shared a few with me in the Twi language, of which I translated to English.

My friends praise me for my courageous acts, that’s how the name Night Rider got stuck on their tongues. It is no bragging matter, it is just who I am. I picked up one doctor from Kasoa to Teshie Tsui-Bleo one night. On our way, he started talking gibberish, so I asked him if he was okay, but he only told me to keep driving. About 10min later, he started speaking Ga, I stayed at La for over 15-years so I understand Ga quite well; he kept repeating these lines, “God, please forgive me, I can never give my mother to them… I can never give my mother to them… God please forgive me, I can never give my mother to them… I can never give my mother to them. She’d sacrificed too much, I can never give my mother to them”

All I could think of was ‘this man had gone in for Sakawa (blood money)’. I asked him again if he’s alright, and he told me he was going to tell his wife everything that night, but then could ‘never give his mother to them’. When I asked who he was referring to, he said, ‘I deserve to die, not my mother. But I am her only son, O! What have I done?! It was just once, they told me it was just once. O! What have I done?!’ So I asked him to confide in me since I was just a driver whom he’ll hardly see anyway. Just when he started to talk, he begun to cough. Sister, he coughed so hard we couldn’t calm it down. Hmph!  I parked to get some water from the nearest store, but anytime he drank some, he’d throw up with traces of blood. That was when I stopped to rush him home.

Long story short, his friend introduced him to a ‘Lodge’ when life hit him hard. He needed the money so he said, and had to ‘pay the price’ but this. This peculiar price demanded him to sacrifice his mother to reverse his impotence; same thing they took away from him on the first day. He left some documents with me and requested that I visited his house the day after to deliver them to his wife so they believe his story. The next day, I went there as agreed, and guess what, he was gone… dead!

Hmm…

A few days ago, at about 2am, I picked up a young woman who’s dressed like a prostitute, around Cantonments. She was a prostitute, actually. How did I know? She was on a call and I happen to eavesdrop. She talked about how smelly her client was and how she’d wasted her time pleasuring a pot-bellied man with a teeny-weeny thingy who passed out into sleep right after he’d ejaculated. She complained of how he’d drool and snore, and how she hated to deal with such uncertainties every weekend, but the money was good.

You cannot judge a book by its cover, they say, but you can by its prologue, obviously. Whatever the case, you’d have to look further than what you see, that is when you actually see.

For a man who saves lives everyday yet dying by the day, who would have thought he was killing aside saving? For the woman who’s selling her body, you’d never know her story till you ask. She wouldn’t be complaining if she loved her job, or would she?

We are all one,  so it makes no sense to point fingers and judge. Encourage someone when you can, and help if you can. My dear, what’s your name?

Akwele.

Ei! A true Ga woman. I like your hair. Natural lady eh? Nice. I’ll give you my number; call me anytime you need a taxi at night. Night Rider, don’t forget the name.

Who would?

 

 

 

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I’ve been driving for 23-years and have never seen such reckless driving as that of this age. Trotro drivers used to carry canes in their vehicles to check the stubborn taxi drivers, so every driver was alert. Not today. No. O! Just look at that… Insanity!

We text and drive anyway, listen to music so loud that we’d have to lower the volume on the radio to see and figure out where exactly we are heading. Today’s driver is has a mind of his own.

Yes, my name is Joe but everybody calls me Wofa Joe. I’m old enough to be your Wofa, don’t you think so? Hahaha… wow nice teeth. You should smile more often. Back in the day, the dental gap was a mark of beauty because it was rare. My wife, of blessed memory, had one. Fortunately, she passed it on to our last daughter.

I like my teeth the way they are, I mean, they’re mine, whose else? I’ve had a couple of traditional African men praise its beauty, and a couple of young men who vocally told me that I’d looked better with the gap closed. But that’s alright. It’s alright.

Driver, that’s my stop. How much?

GHC1.80

Oh! But I just sat in the taxi. It’s even a walking distance.

Then you should have walked. It’s a station car, young lady, fixed fare for every passenger heading towards the last stop.

Mtchw!    [Bangs the door]

Young pretty lady, such indiscipline, it’s sad. She’ll grow. Tsk tsk tsk.

There was an awkward silence in the taxi, why not? We were 2 young passengers left.

Oush! Thank God my stop is the next. I don’t like awkward.

 

 

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O! There’s no need for a photo, I have friends on Facebook and that Insta-something-something… eh heh!

All other passengers had alighted at their destinations and I was left with the driver, Yakubu, who decided not to pick up anymore passengers for the rest of the day. When I asked why he didn’t want to make more money, he said,

”sweetheart, I drove a couple all night throughout Osu, and see, I am a Muslim, I am fasting”. (more…)