The 'mate', responsible for filling up the bus and collecting fares, will call out the final destination and main stops in reverse order. The bus will not leave until it is full, which - depending on the time of the day - can take anything between 2 and 40 minutes. The one going to Dansoman is a large passenger bus (unlike most trotros which are refurbished minibuses imported from Europe), with additional folding seats in the middle of each row to make use of the aisle space. The waiting time passes quickly, thanks to the enthusiastic preaching of a young man who will collect tips from the passengers as soon as the last passenger has boarded, and to the expansive offer of items (snacks, drinks, handkerchiefs) passing by the windows in baskets carried on women’s heads.
The route takes us through the usually congested traffic on Ring Road, followed by side streets in middle-income residential areas with front shops. In times of high congestion, the driver takes an alternative route, upon consent with the passengers. As always, he communicates through the mate. I miss most of the conversations on the bus as they take place in Twi. I can rely on the help of other passengers and the mate for anything that concerns me as most people do speak English fluently, but I am also very grateful for translation of less relevant conversations by my research assistant which makes me feel less awkward when the rest of the bus is engaged in sharing jokes.
The minibus from Dansoman to Gleefe fills up quickly; it is a short ride. The houses framing the road gradually become smaller and shops fewer; but the area looks by far not as impoverished as I would have imagined from the literature. School children, women with babies on their backs, men and women in business clothing and hawkers get off at Gleefe last stop where they quickly dissolve into the community.