By Hannah Awadzi
To be a loading boy does not need prerequisite requirements, such as the provision of a CV for the job that is likely to earn one an average of about GH₵ 240 a week and almost GH₵ 1000 cedis a month.
All one requires is the strength, the tenacity and the will power to do it. This is the job of a loading boy.
Loading boys are the guys seen around lorry stations and bus stops shouting for passengers for the “trotros” loading by the roadside.
For every car that a loading boy loads at a station, he gets one cedi and if a car is not part of the local fleet the minimum charge is GH₵ 5.
These loading boys could also be described as ‘disappointed drivers’, drivers’ mate or those nursing a dream to be professional drivers someday.
My encounter with Emmanuel Kweku Egyiri let me in on the job of a loading boy and the need for proper formulation of policies in the transport sector.
Egyiri, a 23 year old man, could only attend school up to the basic level, after JHS, he had no helpers and so decided to be engaged in something that would enable him make a decent living.
He said: “I have always dreamt of becoming a driver but did not even know how or where to start from,” so he went to the Madina Station one day to find out on how to become a driver.
According to him, he was lucky to be employed by an elderly driver as his mate and this man gave him training on the job to enable him become a driver.
After working with the man for about two years, he decided to be on his own and was lucky to get a Sprinter Benz bus to drive.
A year on, there was a problem with the bus he was driving so the owner decided to sell it and Egyiri was left jobless with nothing to do, his search for another vehicle to drive proved futile and so after sometime, he decided on being a loading boy.
Egyiri said very early in the morning he would wake up and go to the station, he help with loading all the station vehicles during the peak morning hours and then move onto the roadside when the station is less busy.
Apart from responding to natures call and going to get something to eat, he aggressively pounces on any car that parks by for passengers.
“Whether the car get full or not, is not my business, once I have shouted with my voice and directed one or two passengers to the car I get my one cedi,” he said.
Sometimes, Egyiri said, he starts the work as early as 4.00AM and closes as late as 10.00 PM, by close of day on an average day, and makes about 40 cedis or more.
“This is minus the ones used for buying sachet water and coconut,” he said with a smile
Sharing his challenges in his job as a loading boy, Egyiri said, sometimes, we are seen as thieves, “in loading the car, if any body’s item got lost, they point fingers to the loading boy, even when we do not have knowledge of it”.
“We stand in the sun all day, most of the bus-stops do not have sheds to serve as shades,” he said.
Egyiri said he did not have a clue what the government could do to help with their job, but wished that things were easier than it is now.
“These days the drivers complain when their cars do not get full, they are always complaining of the increases in fuel prices and spare parts and now there is an increase in insurance.”
Egyiri said his prayer is to get a car to drive soon, preferably a sprinter bus and advised his fellow youth to be more serious with life and get something doing, saying, “Everything you put effort into pays.”
The Road Transport sector in is dominated by private operators; many have called for policy reforms in the sector to be directed towards strengthening the institutional and regulatory framework and to develop the requisite human resource and also technical know-how necessary for sustenance. GNA