One of my favorite love stories, is one told to me by my lover
Once upon a time, before he moved to the city with lights
When he studied under stars and candlelight
He loved a girl with a pure heart
Lying on my bed, he shared with me his journey
Every night in the darkness
Over rocks, mud and potholes
To see the girl with a pure heart
Though he brought her sweets, presents and altruistic kisses
As well as a good part of his dogged devotion
The bricks and metal of her walls remained impervious to his charm
But my lover, he’s from the East, he stays true
Big heart, unyielding determination
Night in, night out
He sat patiently on one side of a gate
For the chance to lock fingers with the girl with a pure heart
My dad tells me that way before I was born, his first job was as a driver. He left home when he was 14 years old to explore a world beyond what his village could offer him. The man did not like to farm at all. So he forged some documents, added two years to his DOB and got a commercial driver’s license to pay the bills. No food for lazy man.
It is hard work being a bus driver en Afrique. You wake well before everyone else and you are usually the last to go to bed. Otherwise, how would the masses move around? In between, you deal with irate passengers, corrupt traffic police, overworked shock absorbers, dishonest mechanics and a very snarky assistant who probably skims the fare. If you’re one of the lucky ones, you actually own your bus, if not you have one paranoid owner perpetually questioning your integrity. Monkey work baboon chop.
The buses are called different things in different countries. Poda Poda (not to be confused with the bodas of Uganda) in Sierra Leone, Danfo in Nigeria, Tro Tro in Ghana and Magbana in Guinea to name a few. Different names, same equation. There is a bus, there is a driver and there is an assistant who lets people on and off the bus, collects fares and dishes insults in between. God dey.
Across nations, the Poda Podas also all share a very captivating feature. Hand painted nuggets of wisdom! Think about it and be grateful, folks. In addition to all that he does, your local bus driver is also your mobile philosopher. There are things you need to know and he’s charged his bus to tell the good news. I tell you, if you are ever short on inspiration, just take a stroll around the city. The Poda Podas will tell you as it is. No mincing words. After all, Fish nor get bizness wit raincoat.
Waiting on that pay raise?- God’s Time is the Best
Hate your job?– Lazy Man no Chop
Having self esteem issues?– Monkey Ugly But Him Mama Like Am
Feeling let down or broke?– No Condition is Permanent
Need to show off to your enemies?– Who God has bless no man can curse/No weapon fashioned against me shall prosper
Just got your secret lover pregnant?– To Be a Man is Not Easy/Every Year Bring its own Trouble
Got that pay raise?– Allah is Great!/To God be the Glory/When you are rich, you have many friends/Oluwa is involved
Feening for Guiness over your local brew?— Cut your cloth according to your size
Your Sunday dress two sizes big?— Eye Wey Dey Cry Dey See Road
And of course, the all popular, A friend in need is a friend indeed because you know, one day I will be at your door at 6am to ask for a favor. 🙂
Speaking of favors, please let me know if you have any of your own Poda Poda philosophies to add to this list and a big thank you Chelsea hater, Gooner lover and Eddie for your additions! Friends indeed!