January 18, Ada Faoh, Ghana

Word Picture

At the Trotro Station in Accra

Sweating in a hot old van,

We wait for every seat to be filled.

Outside, amid the smell and noise of idling engines

Colours collide and swirl.

Many bare brown feet

And strong dark legs

Support bottoms that are round and prominent.

The money aprons are hung around thrust-forward bellies.

A jarring print cloth wraps around the breasts,

Like a cummerbund

And tie tiny babies securely

To their mothers arched backs.

Proud shoulders suppor

Long regal necks.

Faces are broad and dark,

With big white smiles.

Lively eyes dart everywhere,

Searching for a nod of interest.

Cloth rings on the top of heads,

Balance large metal trays, huge aluminum bowls,

And glass-sided wooden boxes.

These are the "shops" that dance around at eye level.

Almost anything you can imagine is available for sale:

Q-tips, matches, deodorant,

Mens boxer shorts, shoe laces,

Cold bags of water and bottles of pop,

Meat pies, fried tofu, 
crackers, cookies,

Chewing gum, computer cables

And smutty books.

All it takes is a wink of an eye,

And one Ghanian cedi.