These are the small hands for long-distance transport in Guinea. They are barely in their twenties: the driver apprentices cross the whole country on board their school bus. In these vehicles imported from North America and modified to withstand Guinean roads, they spend all their time. Never, never, should they leave their workstation.
From our correspondent in Conakry,
Youthful, tired face, Aboubacar Camara barely wakes up from her nap, after a long journey that lasted more than twenty hours. “We arrived this morning at 7 o’clock. We came from Kérouané,” he explains. “Kérouané is a city in southeastern Guinea, 800 kilometers from the capital.” There are two drivers and three apprentices. luggage that is in the vehicle, Aboubacar Camara continues.
For 2 years he has traveled everywhere and explored the country in all directions. He does not do it for the money – he only gets 15-20 euros in payment per trip – what he wants is to one day be able to drive a bus himself. One of these school buses imported from America and which that day are lined up next to each other in the muddy parking lot at Conakry’s bus station.
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Prohibition to leave the vehicle “We prefer to use American buses because they are very resistant. We put two people per bench. There are 44 seats and a roaring engine. Barry Béavogui sat behind the wheel. This 22-year-old forester knows these buses by heart. “It is very durable as a bus. It can last for years. The engine is protected, as is the radiator. It is not original, we are the ones who modify the vehicle in our Matoto garage “, emphasizes Barry Béavogui.
In this district of Conakry, mechanics are adding steel bars, slabs to keep the vehicle from guinea’s dilapidated roads. It is forbidden for apprentices to leave the vehicle. “This is where we spend the night, because I can not leave the bus and go home. There is the battery, parts that I can not leave like that without supervision.
A few more days of peace and boredom for the driver apprentices before the new start. Early in the morning the young men arrive on the bridge, the vehicle will move in the direction of the interior of the country.