ARE YOU PACKED? YOU TOOK YOUR SHOTS? LET’S GO GHANA! AND THE BEST PART IS… YOU DO NOT NEED TO GET A PASSPORT!
Day 1 – Arriving In Accra
As I clanked down London’s wet train steps whilst dragging my cumbersome and old fashion suitcase to head to the airport, I felt that I was also carrying my dreams of finding myself while others found me in this new land. I was filled with an air of romanticism of the bustling markets, lush greenery with a hint of cautionary excitement for living outside my comfort zone.
I scrambled for my seat by the window at the back of the airplane. My fingers scrolled through my phonebook to call two close friends to say my final round of goodbyes. They both asked if I was excited to be going Ghana? Yes, I was beside myself to go for the charity work and to find my roots; as well as, a sense of adventure. Contrarily, a part of me was protective as in to make sure I looked after myself since I was going Ghana alone. I heard all the tales, facts and advice about Ghana being a very busy and dangerous place. I had faith that God was with me and my faith was comforted even though this was not my first time to Africa or travelling solo. As by divine appointment, I spotted my Aunty Helen, a long time family friend of 20 years plus, who was on the same flight. We embraced tightly and swapped travel details. Seeing Aunty Helen’s beautiful smile made me at ease and comforted. I felt like I could conquer Ghana which suddenly made it a less of a strange faraway place from home, and more like a friendly homecoming for the next few weeks.
I saw some beautiful landscapes on my journey with a panoramic view from my little oval window. My eyes drank in the snow capped Alps mountains as we sliced through the light fluffy clouds of France, the crystal like waters of the Mediterranean sea with its boats leaving white foamy trails like snails, and the rusty red sands with all kind of squiggles drawn in the Sahara desert. Those views were topped off by Accra’s city lights in the night sky. As we began descending, the yellows, reds and white lights from the buildings and street life made the city look like it was floating in a black opaque-like ocean. What a beautiful picture!
The flight was quick with only shaky parts near the end. After battling for my arm rest for 6 hours with my neighbour, sweet Grandma Mary, who was a lovely Ghanaian lady who had a lot of upper strength for someone in her 70s, we hugged, smiled (as to say “we call it a draw for now” and departed from the plane.
I got through immigration with breeze. I dragged my tired bones to luggage collection and then it had hit me like the thick humid night air, I was in Africa! The majority of the people around me looked like me and I looked like them! I felt a moment of pride. I collected my suitcase, hugged aunty good-bye with hope of meeting up with her in Accra in a few weeks, and headed for the arrivals’ exit. In contrast from the quiet calm of inside the airport, outside was a swarm people holding signs, porters hustling to grab your bags to assist and drivers coming up to you chanting “taxi, taxi, taxi”. I was slightly overwhelmed when I did not see my host from the Dream Child Foundation but after a few Facebook messages and a lot of panicking, we found each other. His name is Alfred, the founder.
Alfred, looked warm and cheerful with his sweat crowning his brow and a sigh of relief. We headed over to the Wok Inn next door to the airport. We ordered fried chicken, jollof rice, salad and water. It was delicious, however, the jollof was not as spicy as to what I was used to. After exchanging pleasantry and some probing about the charity, we got in an old looking white taxi and headed to the Avenida Hotel in Accra. Alfred sat at the front while I was enjoying the sights, sounds and smell of the city’s nightlife. Some young boys were resting on the pavement opposite some motel looking buildings, while other young men was enjoying each other’s company as they walked down the streets. I did not see any women walking about.
We got to the hotel not to far from the airport, ordered two rooms with the help of a lovely strapping young man who’s smile was so welcoming and big. He carried my suitcase up the winding stairs and into my room. My room had air conditioning (as hoped), twin beds, a clean modest bathroom with a bucket to wash from, massive windows and enough space to swing two cats. I locked the door and quickly undressed from my travelling attire. Thank God for artificial cold air! This my friends was my first day coming to Ghana and it was already an adventure.
Stay tuned as day 2 when I travel to the Volta Region and visit the charity.
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