It is written …

Today, we have a second guest commuter, as I promised there would be in this anniversary month. She happens to be Sharlon, my friend who spends her days in her bank job. Sharlon loves the theatre and has decided to try her hand at blogging, first on The Daily Commute. She’s a regular on the Haatso-Accra route, never mind that it’s usually in the front seat of an air-conditioned lift. Comment as usual and share it. Enjoy.

*******

One way or the other we all make it home at the end of the day. Whether via public transport, personal cars or on occasion, a heaven-sent “Lifthansa”, as I once heard my brother call a lift. From my office at the heart of Accra, I, like most commuters, have to struggle to get back home at night. In my case, more often than not, it’s via “Lifthansa”.

One evening, as I slipped in and out of sleep in the slow march of the Tetteh Quarshie Interchange, a Daewoo Tico crawled by with the inscription, “Nyame yε obolo”. Hold on. Why would a matchbox of a car want to guess God as fat? The good Lord is indeed Alpha and Omega, but surely, He maintains a sturdy diet somewhere in between that.

It’s always struck me as peculiar the philosophies at the backs of most public transport vehicles, a popular practice in Accra. I can imagine a car owner somewhere cringing every time he sees his vehicle pass him by, reading something like, “You think you know’. God alone knows what he does not know about the daily (mis)deeds of his vehicle.

The names, as I have come to observe, may be written according to the state of the car, “Fresh boy” or “Kae me brε” (Remember my suffering); the nature or behaviour of the drivers “Saddam” (why not just go for the big gun himself, Osama?); or some past experience one must have had, “Suro nipa na gyae saman” (Fear man, and not ghosts). God help the car that is owned or driven by a scorned lover.

My mum once told me a ‘toli’ of a Benz 207 (why is it always a 207?) that had had a fatal accident on one of its long journeys. The front part which suffered the impact was mashed in, but the back coincidentally had the inscription, “Hwε deε Awurade ayε” (See what God has done). The Old Man above must be scratching his head wondering exactly which part he played in all that. Dear Lord, forgive them for they know not what they write.

Typically Accra

A colleague at work told us of a trotro that nearly run him over on the Gbawe road, driving with all the furies of hell after it. He looked all but ready to beat the culprit to pulp had he been there as he told his story (I still wonder what stopped him the night before). The poor man’s face nearly blew up like a firecracker when we all burst out laughing at the inscription he said was behind the hell-bound trotro, “Kaa fei gidigidi”. Even with my terrible Ga I know that to mean something like ‘Do not rush’. Classic. One undisciplined driver I saw had the audacity to point fingers, having written, “And they say they are Christians!”

I suspect it makes some of these drivers feel good about themselves when people call out to them by the names written on their cars or even when it earns them some popularity among the station drivers. Perhaps we are quick to judge, never knowing truly what brilliant light bulbs go up in their brains when drivers think their ideas are the next best thing since chocolate (I always wanted to say that). I would give a toe or two (gulp!!) to be a fly on the wall when these decisions are taken. I imagine a re-enacting of the naming of Simba from The Lion King. All the other drivers and mates eagerly await the sage amongst them who walks out in his best Rafiki impersonation and proudly announces, “This car shall be called, “Boga boga εna εyεε dεn?” (Do I hear the Hallelujah chorus?).

They certainly do not anticipate certain situations to nullify the effect of those names, like that driver who after pushing his car for about five minutes unsuccessfully, shrugged his shoulders and walked away with his scruffy mate in tow. Behind the car were the words, “Never give up”.

I was rudely awakened from my reverie when my ‘Lifthansa’ had to quickly swerve one of those huge cargo trucks bullying its way down the already traffic-congested road, like Don Quixote charging at the wind mills. My benevolent friend asked in bewilderment where on earth that car was headed. As if in answer to his question, inscribed behind the vehicle was, “I wonder”. Ladies and gentlemen of the jury, I rest my case.

~∞~

I’ve been reading Asomasi’s blog for as long as it’s been going and though I admit that my daily commute is less riddled with the drama his is, the view is equally interesting from my usual ‘Lifthansa’ ride home. Have you seen any inscriptions that got you amused? Angry? I’d love to hear from you.

Sharlon

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About Kwaku Dankwa

By day, I'm an advertising copywriter. That's what I've done all my working life (National Service doesn't count). Husband of Esther, father of Jesse, and servant of Christ. I previously wrote a blog on the dramatic side of public transport in Accra, "The Daily Commute: From Bridge to Ridge." Enjoy.
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24 Responses to It is written …

  1. Dannie says:

    Hahaha. I loved this piece!“This car shall be called, “Boga boga ena eyεε dεn?” (Do I hear the Hallelujah chorus?). I also saw one Benz 207 early last year that read “Nyame ye adom a ye be wiinni world cup no”.

    I especially love it when the writings on the back are mispelt.

    • sharlon says:

      Hey thanks. I’m glad you liked it. I think that part about ‘boga boga’ is my favourite line too. i actually had a good laugh whiles writing it.

    • Sis says:

      I liked this piece. I see Asomasi’s style written all over it!

    • esallah says:

      and do u know what is at Deut 15:11? “There will always be poor people in the land….” I guess it was too long to be written so he decided to quote the source and unfortunately misspelled it.

    • Kwaku Dankwa says:

      Ah, Dannie, you’re laughing at someone, and you yourself you’ve misspelt “misspelt”? Hahahahaha! E hard oo…

      But true, I think the misspelling adds to the flavour of the whole thing.

  2. Ama says:

    “Suro nipa na gyae saman” gets me every time – I love it!

  3. esallah says:

    “Nyame yε obolo” paaa. lol. This is another lovely one.
    Hold on; is the inscription on the image i see “Please, help to buy a car for Jesus”?

    Another lovely piece, I think there should be a part two to this. It’s interesting the inscriptions one can see in town.

  4. abyss says:

    It is absolutely brilliant.
    Keep them coming.

    Kweku, this one dei. E de bi!

  5. Pious says:

    How about an inscription like, “Noah’s ark was a Mitsubishi”…?????.. nice one

  6. Kwaku Dankwa says:

    Yeah, Sharlon, I now what you mean about drivers responding to names on their cars. When I was doing my National Service in the village, anytime I wanted to move to the district capital (and finally get some phone coverage), I had to make sure I was at the road side by 6:30 am to catch “Sunkwa” en route to Nkwanta from Hohoe. Everyone in Brewaniase knew him.

  7. sharlon says:

    Ok K.D…what will we call the driver that drives the van with name “Deuteronomium:15:11”. lol. i always wonder why they misspell them? Was there no dictionary at the naming ceremony???

  8. Whoa!!! love these lines:: Perhaps we are quick to judge, never knowing truly what brilliant light bulbs go up in their brains when drivers think their ideas are the next best thing since chocolate (I always wanted to say that). I would give a toe or two (gulp!!) to be a fly on the wall when these decisions are taken. I imagine a re-enacting of the naming of Simba from The Lion King. All the other drivers and mates eagerly await the sage amongst them who walks out in his best Rafiki impersonation and proudly announces, “This car shall be called, “Boga boga ena eyεε dεn?” (Do I hear the Hallelujah chorus?).

    You are amazing.

  9. Jeous Kwasi Ariva Mendes says:

    Thumbs up… Not too far 4rm da Landlord , asomasi.

  10. Guy says:

    Nana Kwame Ampadu has a song dedicated to drivers and it really is a great exposition on the writings on our trotros. The old cars normally have wise-crack sayings and the new ones have inscriptions of a much more appreciative tone. I think we should all endeavour to listen to it. Title “driverfuo”.

    Great piece Sharlon.

  11. Quophi says:

    Excellent

  12. RAY JAY says:

    Thanks..quite exciting..

  13. Maab says:

    Hold on you Guys and Gals! Before you tear that poor driver to pieces have you checked to find out whether Deuteronomium is not the way to say Deuteronomy in Twi or Ga orEwe or Fanti or Nzima or Dagomba or Mamprusi or Gonja or Hausa or Talensi orKasena or…..or……..or……..????? or maybe he was just suffering from a tonguetwist or a mindtwist like that teacher who asked his students to turn to the book of 1st Galinthians at their school assembly. Hmmmmm it ain’t easy koraa sometimes.

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