Thursday, December 5, 2013

Driving through Accra, I Made Ghana Better Today, on International Volunteer Day

"Today is International Volunteer Day. I am volunteering to take you all home". That's what I told after they had sat in the #vimride. I started my day by going to Multi TV to appear on the AM Show with +Ela Asare. We talked about today being International Volunteer Day (as sanctioned by the UN), how we at the +GhanaThink Foundation came up with National Volunteer Day aka #NVDay, what happened on that day (click link for pictures) and what has come out of it, mainly the Ghana Volunteer Program (also on Google+Twitter and Facebook) While on the show, Ariel mentioned that people could do simple things to make Ghana better - after the host had asked her about #IMGBT (I Made Ghana Better Today) - like picking up people and giving them free rides. The bulb lit for me and I knew one thing I would definitely be doing today.

After I had accomplished one of my missions for going into central Accra today and realising that it was 4:30pm, I had a choice to make. Head home in the terrible traffic or hang around town and go home later. I was eager to go home. I found myself passing around the Accra Sports Stadium on my way home and that's when I decided I would give some lucky people free rides. The traffic was unbearable though, frankly, I couldn't get 'that' excited like I normally do while listening to great African music while driving. I drove in front of the International Conference Centre and I couldn't believe the traffic I saw when I went towards the Kofi Annan Centre of Excellence in ICT. I was listening to Mzansi music. I decided to take the Ako Adjei route instead of passing through Danquah Circle. After passing the scene of my major accident from last year, I saw 3 ladies I really wanted to pick up. Yeah. But they were likely not headed towards American House, East Legon so I passed them.

While I was passing TV3, I took advantage of the traffic there to ask some ladies who were standing in front of the TV3 offices if they were headed towards East Legon. "Circle", they said. +Felix Nartey & +krystabel vorsah had joined Ariel to TV3 for more publicity around the Ghana Volunteer Program so I felt like returning the favor(?). It was then that I really decided that I would not take the Kanda Highway but head towards 37 instead to pick up people. If I had thought about picking people up a bit more than traffic, I would have gone right by the Deloitte & Touch office at Ako Adjei and picked folks from that bus stop. There were several nights this year when I had a tough time getting a trotro from there as my #vimride was in the surgery theatre. One day, I shall intentionally go there to pick folks. Once I joined the Liberation Road opposite the Golden Jubilee What Shall We Do With It Flagstaff House, I knew I would be picking folks up from the next trotro stop.

Right after passing the Armed Forces Officers' Mess, I parked at the trotro stop. I didn't care that those cards behind me would pass me. I had stopped before to ask one lady and she refused to go. Yeah, it happens. "East Legon, American House" I was paiing, just like a trotro mate. 1 guy accepted my offer and when 2 other ladies realized this was for real, they came to take the back seats. "Today is International Volunteer Day. I am volunteering to take you all home". Oh, that's how I started the blog post. Full circle. Interestingly, the song that was playing in the #vimride when they joined it was Lengoma by DJ Sbu featuring Zahara. Watch this music video and you'd see how appropriate the song was and what a great coincidence that was as well. The next song that played was Donald's Get To Know You Better. I would get to know my passengers better later, for now, I was enjoying the +Museke. Now that I had suffered all the traffic and endured it a bit more to just pick up some folks and give them free rides home, I could begin to dodge traffic and drive more seriously.

The #vimride bolted into the Olesegun Obasanjo driveway usainly like a Formula 1 participant shoomakally entering the N1. I turned into the Gold House area and went by Jack & Jill School, I didn't even say hi in the direction of the Rancard office. I would normally take that left turn onto Sir Arku Korsah Road but I decided to take Patrice Lumumba instead and go through the Best Western route. Horse riding things? No. Congo Sodja things. It didn't even occur to me that I was passing by my first home when I returned to Ghana (Holiflats) as I turned left onto School Road. I was headed for that secret road that skips all the Patrice Lumumba traffic. My new friends were enjoying the ride, at the very least they were thinking "this driver knows lungu lungu paa!" We joined the Patrice road via the Agostino Neto road and within a matter of minutes, we were back on Liberation Road.

One was going to Bawaleshie, another to Adjiringanor and the last towards IPS. I took the Shiashie road off the main road to Legon and continued on it, dodging the traffic on Lagos Avenue. I branched left to go by the French school (the one that exists in Accra but for some reason I don't know a single alum from there). I took more back routes and ended up at Abedi Pele's junction where I dropped off the first lady. I didn't get her name :-( I realized the traffic wasn't really free on Freetown Avenue so I took the Pawpaw street route instead, right by Agape House. Finally dropped off Jacob and Mawusi at the American House junction. "God bless you". "God bless you too". My job was done. I headed home and now I am here to enjoy the Farmer's Day holiday weekend more seriously.

How about a map of the route where I drove through - 90% really :-)
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