We met Donald on the Boulevard de France.
How we found ourselves on the highway is its own story, but let’s just say it involved a party, good looking women who gave the wrong address and not-the-sharpest taxi driver.
After getting satisfactorily lost and eventually learning the correct location, we headed back to the highway to get another cab to the party. And that’s how we met Donald.
The odds that we’d be picked up by a Calabar-raised, Accra-grown, English-speaking Uber driver on the highway at 11pm were really slim, but we weren’t prepared for how much luck we’d end up having on this trip.
Donald dropped us off at the party and didn’t take payment. He only asked for us to take his number and call him again. I saved it as “Donald Saviour”.
We made seven more trips with Donald, and on each one, he’d entertain us with music and conversation. He’d drive slowly, often take the longer route and even work nights just so he could pick us from the club. I don’t know where he lived, but I don’t assume it was close by. And it wasn’t for money, because he always charged less than expected.
The day before we left, we went to lunch with him. It was at the restaurant where he first worked when he moved to Abidjan. We had Attiéké and 3-week old chicken (he made a big deal about how the chicken bones were too soft). He found us so boujee and joked about me undressing my food. 🙄
Obviously Donald liked our company, but it didn’t really hit home until the final trip. En route the airport, driving slowly, taking the longer way as usual, he mentioned that he didn’t have many friends. Actually, what he said was that he had no friends, but I hope he was being dramatic.
Donald reminded me (again) that feeling at home and having friends who speak your language—literally and metaphorically—is a gift.
If you’d like to, send an email to Donald.