Tuesday, May 8, 2012

Driving Madam (Crazy) (Part2)

I'd always said I may do some retrospective blogging but never done so... but I remembered this email to a friend sent when I was in Ghana and have mainly left it as I wrote it...

To set it in context, I sometimes had to visit satellite sites around the main site, and sometimes if they were doing a concrete pour it was good to get there early (like pre-6.30!!!!) to check all was well before they started.  Or at least soon after they'd started.  I think on this particular morning I had aimed to leave by 6, having washed and eaten breakfast.  Duku was my driver, tro tros are little minibuses that are the main form of public transport around towns, and 'Obruni' (shortened to 'bruni') is the name for white people...

"Managed to leave at 6.03 this morning!set my alarm for 5.15, thought id sleep in till 5.30, then woke up to a knock at my door from the house boy at ten to six.  I think I just hit snooze on the alarm.   anyway so i stink and ming cos i didnt shower just threw some clothes on. classy. anyway so cos we were early Duku decided we could go the more direct route cos there'd be less traffic. he also seemed to decide that me not being quite as early as i'd hoped was up to him to rectify, thus accelerating up to about 90kph with about 100m left till we got to a roundabout, therefore having to wham the breaks on as an old dilapidated taxi with half a bumper cruised round in front of us.  In addition early morning seems to be breakdown time.

First of all this metromas bus has stopped right in the middle of the road by one of those u turn things, so everything is queuing up and my rally driver decided to do what everyone else wasn't doing; going on the right of the bus, over the 'pavement', beeping his horn as he goes to warn the poor dears carrying their live's possessions on their heads, not slowing down to give them a chance to move mind. so, we pee everyone off, and it feels like everyone is like 'WHY?! bruni FORCING driver to drive bad!!!'

And then, we meet another breakdown, in the middle of a junction (where else?) with a drain on the right... so a sneaky tro tro has managed to straddle this drain as a way of getting past, ingenious, but has then, like tro tros tend to do, stopped whilst the bus boy yells at women to get them on said tro tro. Meanwhile, tro tro + broken down bus + stream of traffic coming other way means nothing can get away from junction. My Le-Mans-driver-in-training is sitting on his horn to try and get the attention of the tro tro driver to move so we can do the shneaky drain-straddling, but the tro tro driver is wilfully ignoring this blaring in order to fill his vehicle. eventually with a few 'WHY???' hand gestures etc. and a forceful drag to some poor girl to get her on the thing, the tro tro moves and we are able to creep over the drain and get back on the road.

the rest of the journey goes fairly without incident (minus being shaken around cos Duku still seems to think it is his duty to cover for my lie-ins, so continues flying over the dirt tracks making me glad i didnt have any breakfast) except when we are almost at the site, along this dirt road, and there is a boy carrying the most enormous bush on his head, so huge in fact you cant see his head and he certainly cant see you. i also think the leaves of said bush were probably causing him some smaaall deafness. when it became apparent he wasnt aware of impending BulletCar, Duku again blares the horn and the little guy jumped and scuttled off into the side of the road like something out of a bugs bunny cartoon."

Friday, October 30, 2009


I want this, despite the somewhat sporadic nature of the posts, to be a pristine record of my time en Afrique, not contaminated by the day-to-dayities of life now I'm back. I'm therefore putting it on hiatus (is that the correct use of hiatus?) until such time as I truly once again miss bacon butties. Or that I miss the time when I missed bacon butties and wish to reminisc.

I have thus migrated here, to the rather boringly, yet functionaly named, alison's blog. More exciting name to follow, whence I've had inspiration.

I hope to be a little more regular in my blog movements.


ps i have noticed the dual meaning to 'miss bacon butties' and i wonder what such a lady would look like...?

Wednesday, October 28, 2009


Ok, so I’m back. I’m home, my African adventure is over, I can now have bacon butties as and when I wish (except I can’t as I am currently residing with Parents and mother has decided that, due to Ethical Reasons, we should be vegetarian about 6/7ths of the week), my tan is fading, my feet are constantly cold and I am learning to speak English properly again.

I’ve actually been back about two months, and have been enjoying my freedom, gallivanting off to various glamorous locations (New York, Barcelona, the south of France, Portsmouth and Chichester) and now am coming to the very real conclusion that I Need To Find A Job. More than anything, I feel like I need My Own Space (and to be allowed to eat chicken). Now my younger sister has left for London for eight weeks I have spread, much to my mother’s chagrin, to her room, and Alison’s Stuff now occupies all three ‘spare bedrooms’. (My Maternal Parent has a favourite story about Alison’s Stuff. When they last moved house, about a month after I left to go to Ghana, she asked the removal men if they had any tips for how she could organise it better next time. “Yes” they answered, referring to the beautifully labelled boxes they had just shovelled into my room “Get Alison to throw some stuff out!”)

Anyway, yesterday, at last, my passive-job-searches (send CV into about three recruitment agencies, peruse company websites about once every three weeks, moan about how little there is around but stay positive as I am actually aware I ‘haven’t really looked yet’) turned into active-job-searches (actually phone recruitment agencies, seek out careers advice, check company websites a few times a week, and watch positivity ebb away as I am told how little there is around). My friend Em came up for the afternoon and it was under her watchful eye that I started this new proactive approach (thanks Em!).

I’m actually starting to miss Ghana, particularly Kumasi. I miss the friends I made there and I miss the community spirit. I miss being able to meet people so easily because you stand out (how on earth do I meet people of a kindred spirit in Wolverhampton?!), I miss the depth of relationships with friends, of course I miss the weather, and I miss the simplicity of life... although it was simple in a complex way! I also miss the friendliness and openness of Ghanaians! I think I have come to the conclusion that one day, I expect I will be back in Africa in some capacity. Just not yet though!