(this was inspired by my morning ride partner, Joan Coleman)
Next time you step out of your house in search of a trotro or perhaps riding in your car, observe what I’m about to tell you.
The duster is that almost ‘four square’ piece of cloth drivers often use to clean (well) dust off their cars. They are often yellow in colour. Aside the fact that the yellow may be so faded that you may see them as white or cream, we’ve lately had some designer dusters in town. Some have flowery designs in them and are found in various colours.
So that is the duster. It is primarily intended for wiping off stuff from the outside or inside of a car. But guess what, it has a lot more uses than we know, at least as far as a taxi or trotro driver is concerned.
Duster as a Sun Shield
Not many taxis have ACs, right? And what will you do if your job was to drive along the streets of Accra for hours in our sweltering sun? Well, the duster comes in handy as a great shield from the sun.
Duster as a Face Towel
Talking about the sweltering sun brings to mind the beads of sweat that drip on the faces, armpits and arms of taxi and trotro drivers. These must be wiped off. For some reason our drivers have no faith in handkerchiefs. So what do they turn to…our good old duster.
Duster as a Food Tray
We are in Africa; in Ghana; in Accra. There’s no shortage of food in traffic. Someone has joked that very soon one will not need to get to the market. Our drivers do not always have the time to eat properly so when they do, the food is laid on their laps…and duster becomes a food tray.
Duster as a Cooler
Accra is hot. It sometimes get so humid that one is tempted to rip off his shirt and damn the consequences. Luckily we have loads of ‘pure waters’ in the system these days (don’t let us talk about how pure the waters are right now). So Papa Driver buys water and guzzles one down in 3 seconds. He feels the need for another, especially as he has a fare heading outside town and may not get one to buy. The second sachet of water finds itself in the welcoming embrace of duster. ‘Keep cool, water’, one can nearly sense the command from the driver’s look as he wraps it.
Duster as a Warmer
If the duster can keep a cold item cool why cant it not keep a hot item warm? Kofi Brokeman is often what is kept warm by the way. How do I know. Mehnnnn I’ve hustled for a while and I’m not quite outta the hustle hood yet. I look and I see.
Duster as a…..Duster
Ever notice that taxi drivers especially will always pull out their dusters and start cleaning their dashboards soon as the traffic lights stops them or there is a go-slow? When the jam is really bad some actually disembark and start to dust their cars all over. When they pick a fare, they will also clean the dashboard. Apparently the idea is that when a taxi is ‘brighttling’ passengers like to stop them.
….I shall return!