Her refusal to be a financial burden on others has pushed her to take up the job of a trotro mate to fend for herself and fund her university education.
For Ernestina, the challenges of life has taught her to be strong-willed and always take steps to be economically independent.
Ibrahim Abubakar spent a day with the fresh university graduate.
By 5am, Ernestina is awake. Her daily activities start with reading the bible then followed by house chores before taking her bath to prepare for work.
She gets on the road by 6am and closes between 9pm and 10pm daily with the exception of Sundays.
At Tech junction lorry terminal where she works as a trotro mate, Ernestina is loved by most of her colleagues because of the seriousness she attaches to her job.
“She always advices and encourages us not to give up on the job.
Every driver likes to work with her because of how she execute her work with passion and ease”, says a trotro mate, Emmanuel Kusi.
Ernestina plies the Tech junction-Bouban-Kenyase-Abirem route.
“At level 200, I realised that things were not going too well for me. That’s when I chose to work as a trotro mate to solicit fund for my education and support myself”
A trotro mate is a conductor of commercial vehicles locally known as ‘trotro’. The job description of a trotro mate is collect fare from passengers, shout out destination to attract passengers.
For Mathew Mensah, the Tech junction – Kenyasi – Abirem station, it is surprising to see a female with a high level of education agreeing to do this job.
“We were all surprised when she came to work because of her level of education.
“She is respectful to both drivers, her colleague mates, and passengers. She appears determined in whatever she does”.
To Ernestina, though most people do not respect trotro mates the job is paying off.
“Most people look down thinking that our life is miserable and that’s why we are doing this job. Meanwhile the work is fetching”.
On a daily basis, her take-home is 60 cedis, out of which she saves at least 30.
Her employer described her as hardworking and determined.
“I’ve been working with Ernestina for the past almost 3 years and she does her work diligently.
“Women used to shy away from this job but since they started taking it up, we the drivers get more money because they account for every penny unlike their male counterparts”.
Ernestina has now completed her first degree in Communication at the Christian Service University College.
She is awaiting her posting for national service.
“I’m aspiring to be a journalist but whilst awaiting my national service posting I have to continue doing this job to earn something”
In the society where we find ourselves in, being a trotro mate is male dominated job but Ernestina being a university graduate is doing passionately to earn a decent living.
For her, not securing a white-collar job is not an excuse to be idle.
She wants the unemployed youth/graduates to find something doing before they get their desired job.