Gridlocks are part of life in Ghana’s perpetually bustling city of Accra. In the rainy season, things get exacerbated by the capital’s poor drainage system.

Whenever it rains, workers get anxious to get home before Accra’s major roads flood. I know this because, in my twenty-three-year stay in Accra, I have suffered the destructive and disruptive force of the floods and their attendant traffic.  

Yet, what I experienced on Monday, May 13, 2024, completely redefined those terms.

As a resident of Weija SCC, I found myself trapped in an unprecedented traffic nightmare while trying to make my way home from work. Leaving work at the usual time of 6:00 pm, I left Kwame Nkrumah Circle for my house at Weija.

It took us 40 minutes to move from Kwame Nkrumah Circle to Lapaz. No surprises there.

A few hours of rainfall in Accra is mostly accompanied by floods and traffic so it was normal.

The true test of my patience was at Lapaz. Making my way through tens of frustrated, annoyed bodies who, like me, were also trying to find their way to the next available bus to their destination.

Some were drenched in sweat from walking forever on the pavement blocks without getting a car. There were others drenched in the heavenly showers and then there were those of us fortunate to have arrived with clean clothes, hoping for better luck than the other groups of people.

We were all going to Kasoa.

Often, when my colleagues mock me for how far Kasoa is, I scoff at them. When they extend the ‘courtesy’ to those who live in Oyarifa by calling the place Oyari-FAR, I leap to their defense.

But as my wrap dress and Shoespie Suede shoes got drenched in the rains, there was no pride in staying at Kasoa.

I was agitated.

But all that changed when I saw a company bus heading towards Kasoa at 8:25 pm. To date, I did not even check the name on the bus. It could have been an occult. It was not the most important thing.

What mattered to me was that it was nearly empty and it was slowing down as it got closer.

When the bus stopped and the driver signaled us to enter, I pushed my way through a forest of bodies to find an empty seat. It was nearly impossible.

But just before the bus was filled, I found a silver lining in my small stature, easily slipping into the crowded vehicle.

The fare from Lapaz to Kasoa is just seven cedis. But the driver saw an opportunity in our desperation and asked us to pay 14 cedis each. We agreed.

The respite was brief. The car simply could not move.

And no, this was not a rickety, old bus. This was a modern, slightly used coach. I could tell from its fresh seats and the fully functioning air-conditioning.

The gridlock was crazy. With my phone battery dwindling, I found myself unable to work on a cartoon project I had planned to complete during the journey. Instead, conversation among passengers turned to shared grievances about the traffic and discussions about Ghana.

Looking back on the backbreaking eight hours spent in traffic, I could not help but ponder the missed opportunities and frustrations of the journey.

My journey serves as a poignant reminder of the challenges faced by commuters in Accra's congested streets and the resilience required to endure such trials.

Trapped in a stationary bus, my frustration mounted as my phone buzzed incessantly with calls from worried parents. None of my siblings had made it home yet, and the stillness of the vehicle only heightened my anxiety.

Two agonizing hours passed before we inched our way to Mallam, a journey that should have taken a mere 10 minutes.

Surprisingly, there was not a single security officer in sight to manage the chaos. It was 10:00 pm and the idea of walking home crossed my mind, but the daunting distance from Mallam to Weija SCC deterred me.

Some passengers alighted and opted to continue their journey on foot.

Some men attempted to direct traffic, but their gestures fell on deaf ears, and they eventually gave up and left.

As I gazed out the window, fatigue engulfed me, and I drifted into an uneasy sleep. My eyes snapped open at 12:13 am, hoping for progress, only to be met with our stagnant situation.

Minutes later, I overheard murmurs about soldiers and other security officers attempting to address the traffic situation. However, I could not spot any of them, perhaps due to my weariness or the darkness outside.

One person lamented, "If I was going to Kumasi, I would have reached already and been in bed by now. What sort of country is this?"

Another expressed her disappointment in Ghana's state.

Looking outside, vehicles were immobilised, with cars submerged in the flooded roads stretching from Old Barrier to West Hills Mall. It was a dire situation, with everyone left stranded.

A lot of people were walking as if it was daytime. The road was very busy.

I finally reached SCC, feeling a surge of relief and gratitude. It was 2:42 am. However, my relief was short-lived as I arrived at the taxi rank, only to find it empty. There was no vehicle available and with no other option, I walked home.

Fear gripped me as I walked through the dark, quiet streets.

Every sound made me jump, fearing someone might be following me. Spotting two men on a motorbike, I fought the urge to run and continued walking anxiously. Upon reaching my junction, I hurriedly called my sister to open the gate for me.

Arriving home at 3:15 am, exhaustion and hunger gnawed at me. After a quick shower, I collapsed into bed and was up again after only three hours of sleep.

The following morning, I dragged myself to work at 9:30 am, feeling utterly fatigued and sleep-deprived.

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DISCLAIMER: The Views, Comments, Opinions, Contributions and Statements made by Readers and Contributors on this platform do not necessarily represent the views or policy of Multimedia Group Limited.