I have struggled to understand these V.I.P. (a bus service that runs between Accra and Kumasi) drivers as to why they turn the AC down so low that they will be wearing cardigans and thick wooly caps. The passengers are left to the mercy of the chilling air conditions that blaze at full power. That long journey between Accra and Kumasi might seem like a long walk through a cold night in Alaska. It was on one such night as I was bundled in my seat with my arms folded on my chest. I was traveling to Accra on VIP bus for an important meeting. Not very long after taking off, after having passed Konongo (a town 53km from Kumasi in the Accra-Kumasi road), I realized the young man sitting by me was sweating profusely. I wondered whether he had superhuman abilities because it was freezing cold. I continued to doze off like many others on the bus. I was startled when the young man shouted driver stop!!! With his hands raised. The driver got the message and parked a few meters away. The speed with which he zoomed out of the bus and vanished into the nearby bushes could have won Ghana an Olympic gold medal. The mission was clear when he returned with smiles on his face and a t-roll in hand. I guess this is an experience he may not easily forget.
That episode reminded me of my own on that same stretch of road. I was driving then I had to bolt into the bush and use baby wipes meant for my newborn baby to relief my agony. There is a story of one minister who had to run to a church to find refuge. All these go to highlight a major problem on our roads, lack of adequate rest stops on the road. Where can you turn to incase, you get an unfortunate call on the road.
Preparation: The key is adequate preparation before you travel. Make your visit to the washroom before you set out on any journey. Should you detect anything journey, use the washroom at the station before the journey begins. In preparing for the unknown, always carry tissues and sanitizers and the emergency medicine Imodium on you whenever you are traveling. Should you drive your own car, kindly add water and soap as part of your travel kit. You never know when you may need them.
Ask a Household: Might you get the unfortunate call whilst driving through a town, you can walk into any decent house and ask. I asked once and I experienced true hospitality. I was welcomed with smiles and the neatness of the washroom astounded me as this was a village. They fetched water for me to wash my hands together with soap. Some homes are really hospitable.
Fuel Stations: All filling stations by the major highways have washrooms and you can approach them to use it. There is no shame in asking and you may not be either the first or the last to ask them.
Hotels and Restaurants: All hotels and restaurants are required to have a place for clients and guests to use to relief themselves. Some may require you to buy something before they allow you to use their facility. You may buy just bottle water and then use the place should you be required to.
When all else fail: When the emergency is pressing and all the solutions provided above is not immediately applicable, I wouldn’t advise you to run into the bush like the young man. All I will say to you is “May the Lord be your shepherd…
By Michael B. Dwomoh ( Travel Consultant )