I Still Go To School

on teaching, learning, travelling

How I get around…

8 Comments

Welcome back!
So I’ve had a good time so far, studied French like a maniac, just to reach the level of “Le cheval court”. Anyways, I am making progress, but to follow the local accent is a bit much still 😉
After four days I was finally able to find my own way home by public transport. It was scary at first, but I managed well (*pats himself on the back*). So in the morning I am usually brought to school by mama, Madame Aka, of the homestay family. From next week on that won’t work though, as I have to leave early and traffic is wacky in this town.

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at rush hours, there is barely any moving forward

So first I have to take the woro-woro. That’s a taxi-car, but they circle on fixed routes. You will constantly hear the honking, and the drivers put out their hands indicating how many passengers they can take. Before you enter, you ask if it goes to your desired destination and you suggest a price. At peak times, the woro-woros are packed. Their colour varies depending on the district.

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sry, crappy picture, but the yellow car is a woro-woro

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Bakás at the station

Same goes for the Bakás, mini-busses, which also frequent on fixed routes, and hold up to 18 passengers. What surprised me here, in contrast to Ghana, they are really strict with the seats. In Ghana there was no such thing as “Sorry, we are full”, but capacity depends on demand. Each of the Bakás has an “Apprentice”, usually a young boy who is there to fill up the Baká and sort out the money. They do the kissing sound with their lips to get your attention, and, as on a market, loudly advertise their destination. Most of the times they are just hanging by the sliding door of the Baká, and acrobatically jumping in and out to get customers. Cars passing them by at high speed, missing their heads by centimetres sometimes…

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the “apprentice” leaning out of the driving van

Supposedly they split the money with the driver in the end of the day, but often they don’t receive their share. They live from the hand to the mouth. And as a whiteyboy, you will get ripped off at times, unless you keep staring at them, telling with your eyes “I know the real price, mon frére!”

Today we almost got crashed by a Baká driver who had lost control over the vehicle. Our car got away with a few scratches, some pedestrians just saved themselves by leaping into the bushes. That happened at the Carrefour “la vie”, which is called this way because so many people died there already. Mon Dieu…

And then of course there are the taxis, which I was adviced not to use, as they are overpriced.

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orange taxis at “apré barrage”

My total costs for travelling each day are round 1000 CFA Francs (it’s a Currency-Union in Westafrica). That is 1.50 €. The income of some friends I’ve met here is between 50.000 and 100.000 per month, which means already almost a third of their money will go into transport to their job.

There are also bigger Busses round, but I haven’t discovered their routes yet.

Meanwhile, preparations for the beginning of the year are going well, parents are coming in and out all the time. My Maths colleague Oatta and I have been preparing this library/IT-room. There is still a problem with water leaking into the place, we hope it can get fixed soon. This room will also be used for 1on1 tutoring.

Library and IT-room

Library and IT-room

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Oatta et moi

So, school starts on Monday! Am I prepared enough? noooo… but am I ready? YES! I’ll keep you posted. And if you have any questions, just post them wherever or message me!
Have a good weekend!

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8 thoughts on “How I get around…

  1. Nice blog you’ve got here Ewald. Good luck with everything out there. I’ll be following along 🙂

  2. Ewaldo!

    I love your blog dude. Enjoyed reading every bit. So I guest transport issues is a huge deal. I’m trying to think of an alternative cheaper solution for my individual project for my final year at Uni. At the moment my proposal is to design a Non-motorised transport for rural areas, especially targeted at women cause they seem to do most of the travelling and head loading. It sounds like there is a big problem in Urban areas as well if a third if their monthly income is spent monthly. Do you know more info about the problem or even in rural areas? Must be really exciting, this new adventure!.

    Respect. 😀

  3. Hört sich spannend an was du zu berichten hast und ich finde es total super, dass du alles geschriebene mit Bildern unterstützt! Mich würde sehr interessieren welches Lehrmaterial dort vorhanden ist – PCs gibt es ja ganz offensichtlich (nur die paar oder mehr?). Kannst du OHP auch benutzen, oder nur Tafeln. Aja, heißt 1on1 soviel wie Privat/Einzelstunde?

    Alors, j’espère que ton rentrée des classes sera fantastique, et que tes élèves sont motivée et désireux d’apprendre.
    (sollte so viel heißen wie: Nun gut, ich hoffe dass dein Schulbeginn fantastisch wird und dass deine SchülerInnen motiviert und lernwillig sind.)

    Schönen Start und alles gute!

    • danke, claudia! OHP hamm keinen, die PCs sind zur Zeit auch noch unvollständig, und haben auch noch kein Internet. hier dauert alles etwas länger, bis es richtig funktioniert, egal in welchem bereich 😉 wir haben whiteboards und marker. genau 1on1 bedeutet mit kids, die englisch noch nicht ausreichend beherrschen, um die bücher lesen zu können, bringe ich zusätzlich etwas bei. das ziel ist, dass sie bald eigenständig arbeiten können.
      auch dir einen guten start! 🙂

  4. Hey Ewald!
    hört sich alles sehr spannend und aufregend an 😉
    Bin schon gespannt was du von deinen ersten Schultagen als Lehrer erzählst! Alles Gute, viel Kraft, Inspiration und auch Freude am lehren und lernen 🙂

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