The responsibility of a family of fifteen rests on the shoulders of 21-year-old Esther Tawiah, the first child of her parents who has to work as a driver’s mate to support the family.
Tawiah said she had to drop out of school when she was in her second year in Junior High School despite her intelligence.
This she said was due to pressure on her to fend for the family, which truncated her dreams of becoming a celebrated fashion designer in the future.
In an interview with Crime Check TV GH, the mother of one revealed that her parents separated after a misunderstanding.
She said her parents in their new marriages gave birth to six children each.
The responsibility of the children she said then became her burden including her daughter, which she had out of wedlock.
Tawiah said due to difficulties in taking care of the family she moved to Accra to find a job.
This was after she refused to work with a driver who approached her to be a conductor on his bus, which is a male-dominated job.
She said subsequently, she landed a company job but had to go hungry for a whole day because the salary was nothing to write home about, and was unable to support her siblings, parents, and her daughter.
“All this while I contemplated suicide because of the difficulties. I had to beg for food from people. My child’s father could not support me because he did not have a stable job,” she said.
Tawiah decided to quit the company job because she felt she was cheated.
After being unemployed for about two months, she said she gave thoughts to becoming a bus conductor as the only option available regardless of the humiliation she would face in line of the job.
“I was taught how to draw people’s attention to board the bus while the vehicle is moving. I also learned how to get people on board the bus from loading points when we are stationed,” she said.
Notwithstanding verbal abuse from some passengers, the young determined lady said she is content with what she makes in a day enabling her to cater for her family though it does not suffice.
“On a good business day, I make Three Hundred Ghana cedis. When business slows, I make Two Hundred or One hundred Ghana cedis in a day. Though it is not enough for a family of 13 to depend on, it is better than my previous job with a company,” she averred.
The only female bus conductor at the Odawna ‘trotro’ station at Circle in Accra, however, still has the intention of pursuing her dreams as she said she would go back to school if she gets support.
“My parents were not supportive when I was in school but I am now the person taking care of them. When I am working I feel ashamed and disappointed when I see other ladies well-groomed but there is no other option for me than to be a bus conductor.
“One must be tough to be able to the job. I sleep in the car often times and anywhere we get to we spend the night there. I have not experienced any attempt of rape or assault while sleeping in the car but my items are mostly stolen. I would go back to school if I get the support. It does not matter my age,” she said.
The driver Tawiah works with, Kwame Wiafe is happy working with her and says he sees prospects in her.
“She works very hard and the passengers like her. Working with her has been smooth. She has even told me she wants to learn how to drive but I told her that requires many efforts. I know she will someday achieve what she dreams of,” he was confident in his bus conductor who is only two months old on the job.
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