Guinea: no retirement for American school buses

After accompanying students from the United States and Canada home for several years, the yellow buses cross the Atlantic to begin a new life in Guinea. Known for the power and robustness of their engine, they are popular with long-distance carriers.

From our correspondent in Conakry,

Surreal sight. Parked along the Fidel Castro motorway, in the heart of the Conakryka ​​chaos, a yellow bus. Of those who normally transport school children from North American green suburbs.

Mamoudou Condé is looking for a buyer. “I’m the seller of this vehicle,” he said. He has been doing this since the 1990s. It takes a commission of 10, 20 euros per transaction. Cash flows are very irregular, he says. “We have friends who are there, brothers who buy the buses and send them here. »

From Baltimore to Conakry via DakarThis used bus market exists thanks to the Guinean diaspora in North America. The crossing by boat is expensive, more expensive than the vehicle sometimes. This bus arrived maybe three months ago, Mamoudou is no longer very safe. A label on the driver’s side window shows the port of departure: Baltimore, USA. It passed through Dakar before arriving at the port of Conakry.

“Such a bus, when a customer comes, I offer him 250,000 million Guinean francs.” 27,000 euros to start the negotiation. “This type of model is very popular. Its engine is known for its quality “, assures Mamoudou Condé.

In search of a resilient vehicle Resistance is what carriers are looking for that will divert the school bus from its first use. Improve it, change it. Reinforce its structure with steel frames, add screws to fix the seats more firmly. “Those who are looking for just this are the transporters who go into the forest (Forest Guinea, editor’s note), those who drive on all roads in the country,” explains Mamoudou Condé.

We ask Mamoudou Condé to start her bus. Inside it is over 40 degrees. The air is heavy, loaded with a scent of plastic that spins in your head. He has not met a customer in a month. The battery may be discharged, warns Mamoudou Condé. He inserts the key and turns it over. Drum roll … A shudder goes through the dashboard. The needles move, the lights come on everywhere. The mastodon has not woken up, it may be next time.

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