Friday, 21 March 2008

Yesterday I had no internet access. Felt like I had left my best friend behind. Spent the whole day with Virgo but in the evening I actually longed to get back to my beloved internet. The slow and unreliable connection soon killed my need for an internet fix. This morning, as I opened my eyes, I stretched out for my laptop and tried again, two hours later...success! Think I am becoming a bit too attached to my own and other blogs, or maybe it was just a case of absence makes the heart grow fonder.

Had a very good discussion with Linda on Wednesday. She spent the whole day at my house and we discussed our experiences, which will be the topic of another post.

There was so much traffic in Accra yesterday. Virgo and I went to the Accra Mall (K - detta kopcentret fanns inte nar du och A halsade pa men ligger precis dar man kor upp pa motorvagen, fran Accra hallet).

From Labone to the mall, usually a ten minute drive at most, it took us about 50 mins there and 45 mins on the way back. We left Labone at 14:00 and were on our way back at 15:30, so not even rush hour! Actually, going back took much longer as we spent at least 20 minutes queuing to get out of the car park. We started our journey after a delicious lunch at Tante Marie, where I had couscous with chicken vegetable soup (they call it a soup, but it's more of a "gryta" or stew/casserole). Virgo, who ate fufu and palmnut soup crashed out as soon as we got into the car (how I wish I was one of those who could sleep anywhere at any time, of course, not whilst driving!), so I endured the whole journey without a proper travel companion, and AC that just wasn't working properly : (, but luckily being his car, at least it was an automatic.

ANYWAY, to make a short story long (as I so oft do), my point was that, something must be done about the traffic in Accra. To beat traffic, I leave my house before 6:15, although I start work at 8:30. If I leave five minutes later, I will be stuck at Tetteh Quarshie interchange for up to 45 minutes. It seems since August, traffic has doubled around there, which tells me that whilst the rest of the world is car pooling and looking at other options of eco-friendly transportation, Ghanaians are playing the game of how many cars can I stuff in my garage? I believe if you check in many households, there are more cars than people. I have to admit that in my own garden there are three cars and two persons who drive them (although oe of the cars actually needs to be laid to rest)!
When will we modify the city to allow for more bikes or better public transport. As I look at it, Accra allows for as much and as pleasant cycling as Gothenburg does. There are just enough hills and slopes to make for interesting bike rides, but as it is now, there are no bicycle lanes and cycling in Accra would be just too dangerous without them. Wouldn't it be wonderful, cheap and time efficient if half of the cars on Accra's streets were replaced by bikes, including the Danish designs that allow for an attached front carriage for children and shopping? A method of travelling that most people can afford (definitely more than those who can afford cars), no costs for servicing and fuel and after a while we'll be able to inhale fresh air. But to get there I think we may have to take matters into our own hands.

Don't be surprised if you catch me on the streets of Accra with a roller and some white paint, marking out my own bicycle lane.


Herman said...

Hej tjejen,
I heard that they have a solution for trafic in Columbia. Only one third of the cars in the capital are allowed to drive on any one day. They use the first letter on the license plate to decide: if it begins with a-h then you can't drive on Mondays (or something like that). It forces people to carpool. Maybe something for Accra?

Nu får du hitta till mitt blog du med. Kul att läsa på din.

Maya Mame said...


I believe they tried something similar in Lagos, Nigeria, in the early eighties: every other day, cars that ended in odd numbers were allowed to drive and on the other days, cars ending in even numbers. Lagosians, carrying the amount of money they had, made sure they bought two cars, one ending in an odd and one ending in an even number. Can you imagine?!

But you are right, we'll have to look at some way of sorting it out.


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