Feature Meet Aisha the "mate" who aspires to be a driver

She glows as she speaks of the many things she has to do to prove that she has a place in this male dominated business.

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The highlight of Jamila Yusif Aisha’s day is when she sticks her head out through the window of her bus and shouts, drawing the attention of people who may be by the roadside looking to board a bus.  She enjoys the attention she gets from people.

“You come to American house and hear me shout, you will feel me.”

She glows as she speaks of the many things she has to do to prove that she has a place in this male dominated business.

 

Born and bred in Nima, Aisha says she knew she couldn’t stay in Nima and pursue her dream of becoming a driver’s mate and eventually a professional driver.

“I knew if I stayed in Nima I was going to be an unruly person.  If you stay in Nima you will get a boyfriend who will impregnate you and not take responsibility”

So she moved to Madina where she began her job.

 

She has been doing it for three years now and life is good for her and her baby girl because on a good day she makes about 40 cedis.

“I have about 5000 in savings. The job is really good for me.”

To be able to compete with the men already in this business Aisha has to be aggressive.

 

“I am tough! If you are a mate you don’t have to be dull. People will shout at your master you also have to shout back. You don’t have to allow anyone to insult your master. If anyone tries to attack my master, before that person gets down I will meet him with my {wheel spanner}.”

She hopes to be taught how to drive by her master Bright Obidea who she defends vehemently every single working day. Obidea did not like the idea of working with a female simply because he had never worked with one in his two years of commercial driving.

 

“I didn’t like the idea of working with a woman from the beginning, but that was my boss’s decision, and I cannot go against it. I enjoy working with her now, and whenever my colleague drivers ask why I’m working with a female, I quickly brush them off.”

His only issue is Aisha’s aggressive nature which is driving away passengers.

Hopefully in a couple of years Aisha will be driving her own commercial car and Obedia is making sure of that.

 

“The last time I told her to start the car she was scared. But later she was able to do it and she was happy. I will teach her. We are trying to find a station. When we are successful we will close early and that will give me time to teach her.”

For those who want to do what Aisha does, her simple advice is to avoid a bus with a heavy door.



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