On the road between Konongo and Kumasi is a toll. It has become one of the daily fixtures of our lives. Not the impersonal “beep” as the toll reader in your car sucks money off your credit card. This toll is manned by a person, and accepts cash, only. But it is so much more than that, it’s a drive through convenience store, and it’s great! And it means only 20 minutes until home.
Passing through on the morning school run, before 7am, it is still fairly quiet, with some vendors selling breakfast, boiled eggs and salt in plastic bags, and a few fruit sellers. If we pass through at lunchtime or after school pick up, the place is packed. I don’t know how the hierarchy works, but the popcorn and “PK-Mentos” sellers are always right at the toll window. ‘PK-Mentos” needs to be said in 2 parts, the ‘PK’ is short, and the Mentos has a long ‘n’ and a short ‘tos’, like “Mennn-tos”. You can buy water, cool drinks, chillies, tomatoes (of course), coco-yam leaves, avocado (pear), oranges (tangerines), garden eggs, plantain chips, mangoes, honey, sometimes green peppers and cucumbers and our children’s favourite, popcorn. It is excellent popcorn, sold in taped together plastic bags, either salted or sugared, with a small lollie tucked inside. You never know whether its going to be salt or sweet, and the children love the anticipation of what flavour it will be. With the long drive back from a long day at school, its a great morale booster.
We buy the popcorn so regularly, the popcorn ladies know to look out for our car (and with an orange beacon of the mine on the roof, we are pretty easy to spot). Here is Cecie buying some:
The transactions are fast, without time for niceties, and although they know who we are, there is rarely a recognition of it, other than the push for a sale. Sometimes a joke, that the obruni woman should be buying more. I was strangely touched when I heard while we were away for several weeks, that the vendors had asked one of the mine drivers where the obruni woman had gone.
But photos of Ghana (or anywhere really), rarely tell the full story. Here is a video Cecie took passing through the toll. As usual, make sure your volume is turned up to 10!
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