Mohamed, 63, spent many years driving passengers in and around the western part of Sierra Leone’s Southern Province. Now he helps other drivers and passengers at his town’s car park. He expertly directs people to cars, motorcycles, and poda podas (vans). The park has separate areas for people traveling to Bo, Freetown, or the nearby junction on the highway. Passengers wait at the designated areas until their vehicle of choice reaches capacity. Mohamed shares his story during lulls in his work.
My vehicle recently developed engine troubles, but I’m optimistic that God will help me find money for repairs. For now I make money by receiving a portion of passenger fees from younger drivers because of my seniority.
A new wave of people arrive at the car park. After Mohamed helps them find transportation, he recalls a little bit of his past.
January 6 marks the date when rebels overtook Freetown. I lived and worked in Rutile at the time. People advised me that rebels were not interested in harming ordinary citizens, but I decided to flee to the bush anyway. I later learned that rebels captured ordinary people in Mokanji so I’m glad I left when I did.