Trotro Tragedies is a Bra Perucci series that seeks and tells the story of the adventurous Ghanaian who uses public transport each day. The good, the bad and the ugly. We tell it all.
This week, a 21-year old Ghanaian student tells her story of how passengers of the trotro she boarded looked on as a strange man tried to kidnap her.
When did this tragedy happen to you?
It happened in October. I was working with an Ushering agency. We were doing an activation for a new drink that was to be introduced to the market in a few months. I was stationed at Oyibi Citydia, now Spar. I basically had to give people samples of the drink, then record their comments to give back to my supervisor.
What was the experience like?
It had its ups and downs. Some people were rude without a cause, others were very polite. It was my first time doing an activation and I have social anxiety so it was really hard from the start but I got the hang of it getting close to the end. The activation lasted for 2 months and I only had to work on weekends from 12 – 6pm. It was hectic moving to Oyibi and back to campus twice a week but I made it work because I basically go where the money resides.
Did you experience anything untoward during your work times?
Yes. Once. Getting to the end of the work. I almost got kidnapped.
Whoa! What happened?
Okay so I started working in September and I generally use trotros when I need to be at work unless I’m in a hurry or I close late then I take Uber or Bolt. But funny thing, it’s really hard to get Bolt or Uber when you’re in Oyibi thereabouts. Unless there’s a driver doing a drop off, it was almost impossible.
So after a while I stopped trying to get the Uber home and stuck to Trotros. One Saturday, my stock finished early so I sought permission to go home and it was granted. I crossed the road and picked one of the large Troskis. I remember pretty well, it was orange.
What happened after you got in the Troski?
I sat in the fourth row cause it was the only empty seat by the window. ( I’m a wall gecko like that).
Understandable. Was the Trotro full at that time?
No, no it wasn’t. First row was full and the seats behind me were full as well.
What happened next?
The Trotro started moving and kept on picking people on the way. So when we got to Ashiyie, one particularly dark, burly man got in and sat two rows in front of me beside an old lady. When he entered, we locked eyes and I went back to pressing my battered iPhone 5s.
Bus kept moving. I was on my phone texting and listening to music but I could feel someone was staring at me. So i looked up and this dude was glaring me down. I say glaring cause it was so intense but I’m never serious about anything so I just looked back down. In my head I was like, “They don’t have obroni in your house I understand, admire all you want.”
Dead! Did the staring or glaring stop though?
Funny thing. It didn’t. For every minute that passed, dude would fully turn his neck look at me and glare me down. Happened more that ten times. I was starting to get weirded out so the last time he turned, I stared back at him. Straight into his bulging eyes.
Now that’s wierd. Do you think anyone noticed?
No, I don’t think so. Even if they did, they didn’t make it obvious.
What did you do then?
My gut was telling me to get down from the car so that’s what I did. I told the mate that i would get down in front of Frafraha Melcom and the bus stopped. I was nowhere near my destination. I was going to Legon Campus. James Topp Nelson Hostel to be precise.
So, I shimmied out of the small seat because I have long legs and it’s always a struggle to get out of Troskis. I noticed Burly man moving towards the car door. I was about to get down then Uncle held my black backpack. I was literally hanging by my bag outside the Troski. I couldn’t even reach behind me.
I kid you not. I heard a woman ask “Ah, why are you holding her bag?” Uncle said I’m his sister and that I ran away from home and that they’ve been looking for me since. I was like Epp me oh, I don’t know this man. Uncle said I’m lying. The bus was filled with old women so these women started chiding me. “Young girls of nowadays. She probably went to her boyfriend.” Same people that will come and be doing “Oh but she’s too young to die?”. They even said they have places to be so my “brother” and I should get down so they can go.
How were you feeling?
Honestly disappointed and a little bit shocked at how they looked on as this burly man manhandled me.
He actually got down from the car still holding my bag. I swear my feet were off the ground. He tried to stop a taxi but I was crying so it drew the attention of a man walking past us. He was quite old but he was as tall as Burly man.
He asked me what was wrong and I had to shout cause Burly was talking over me.
The man took my ID and told Burly to tell him my name if he knew me. Uncle was like he doesn’t have to prove anything to him so the man called a few boys over and they intimidated him. Next thing, I know, Uncle is sprinting across the road to the other side. He ducked behind some kiosk and that was the last I saw of him.
Chills! Hope you didn’t pick another trotro to your hostel.
Due to the generosity of the old man, no I didn’t. He picked a taxi on the spot for me cause a girl was shook. He paid and I thanked him and the boys and the taxi sped off.
Did this experience maim you in any way?
Mentally, yes. I have become more cautious. If I go anywhere and it’s late, I pick an Uber or Bolt home and send the ride info to my friends and my brother just in case anything happens. In the end Accra will always be Accra and there’s always danger lurking somewhere for you. Best you can do is protect yourself by all means necessary.
Come back next week for new stories. We have a whole gala of them. If you have a story you’d like to share with us, send us an email here.