Face to Face Trotro Palava by Nana Aware Damoah

“Please, can you pass your money from the left? Please don’t give me big notes.”

“Why shouldn’t we? Shouldn’t you have coins for change?”

“Madam, I think it is just a polite request from the boy. Please allow small.”

“Mate, I will drop at the Catholic church junction.” It was a sleepy voice; the passenger, an elderly man, had gone to sleep as soon as he boarded the troski at Abedi station.

“Oh Papa, we didn’t pass there o. We are now at Nkansa-Djan.”

“Ah, why didn’t you pass there?”

“Papa, I asked at Abavanna whether anyone would get down at Roman, but there was no response.”

“It was because he was busily snoring and hitting people’s shoulders with his head!” The lady who sat on the old man’s right didn’t sound amused. The other passengers laughed.

“Driver, please turn the car, I have to get down at Roman. Driver!”

“Akwasi!”

“Master!”

“Wetin again? Asem ben?”

“Master, is it not this man? He has been sleeping aah, now that we have passed his stop, he wants us to take him back.”

“Opanyin,” Massa Kojo tried to be polite “you know we can’t take you back, not in this traffic, even if I want to do it. I will let you get down right here. Akwasi, open the door for him. Papa, next time, please stay alert.”

“Ah, but I need some balance to take a new troski back to the Catholic church junction.”

“But you have not even paid me!”

“I paid you!”

“Ei, you this man, you have been sleeping throughout this trip, when did you pay me?”

It quickly became obvious that the old man didn’t have money on him. A good Samaritan paid for him. When he insisted that he be given money to take a bus back to his original destination, all the passengers broke down in mirth and called him Papa Oliver. The good Samaritan had to come to his aid, again.

                  ********************

“Mate, why should I pay the full fare to Circle? I am using only half of my allocated space on this bench!”

The speaker was seated by a plump lady; she looked like a Makola Market woman who was on her way to the market. Her load of dried fish in a basket was placed under one of the benches.

“Owula, are you referring to me?”

“Mate, I say I will not pay the full fare! Take the balance from wherever you deem fit!”

“My view is that some people should pay double the fare, for the space they actually occupy, otherwise they cheat some of us.” That was Opia, who had recovered from his anger to contribute to the discussion in the troski.

“True. It is supposed to be one-man-one-seat, but for some, it is one-man-two seats!”

The Makola woman kept her cool; only a foolish dog will run after a flying bird and this was a topic she wouldn’t win.

“Lagos Town wo mu o, mate!”

~ Nana Awere Damoah, Face to Face – Trotro Palaver (in the book Tales from Different Tails)

*Join Kofi Akpabli and Nana Awere Damoah for 2 book readings in Sept: Accra (3rd) and Kumasi (24th)

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