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 20 – The sound of the police
Marie and I got ready at 6:30 am for church. We had breakfast in the dining room with no one else about. The staff was kind enough to cook for us our breakfast before they were meant to. As soon as we had finished our breakfast, Aunty Helen met us at the gate with the taxi.
We arrived at the Prince Emmanuel Seventh-day Adventist Church which was on a beautiful and big compound with the Union Conference at the back. The grounds were well kept and everyone was dressed to impress, we looked like tourists with our flip flops and western clothes. We were welcomed with smiles and handshakes.
We entered the church and it was beautifully kept and lovely décor. My Aunty asked me to choose a row of seats and so I lead our little group to near the front. The church held about 200 people and they were an English speaking church in Central Accra.
An elder came to the front and started a session of prayer which was then followed by Sabbath school where we had 45 minutes Bible discussion in small groups on the topic of salvation. There was a break before the main service began which started with a procession of a golden-robed choir singing an opening song and then ministers and the preacher followed behind while we stood up. A church member asked all of the visitors to stand up to be welcomed by the church and then they sang and embraced as many people as they could. I felt so loved with the warmth of the congregation. We were taught a lot of catchy new songs by the smooth melodic praise team. Marie seemed intrigued by the church experience and the music. I was feeling uplifted by the blending of voices and the encouraging messages.
After the sermon and closing prayer, we rushed out and took a taxi to Aunty’s family house. We pulled up to this beautiful big white house which much land.
We went inside and greeted Aunty’s mother, Agnes and her career, Lydia. I loved the 70’s architecture of shape clean lines, tall ceilings with wooden panels. My Aunty grew up with her two other brothers in this house and there were pictures decorating the walls of pictures displaying the rich family history.
Aunty invited us to the dinner table and we had amazing home cooked food. Marie was especially happy as it was vegetarian and not spicy as well as delicious and more-ish. We had jollof rice, salad, goat and beef stew and sorrel drink. We had our plates piled high with food and then had seconds. This was the first time we had such amazing food! We thanked Aunty for her hospitality. Aunty Helen drove us home.
When we arrived back to our room, we met Mog and Kate, both young and students from England. They had returned to Ghana only after several months since their long one-year volunteering program in rural Ghana. It felt strangely great to hear English accents. They reminded me I was soon to go back home to reality. The two girls introduced themselves to me as soon they picked up my London accent. They were so funny, energetic and open when we got to talking. We swapped our stories of our times volunteering in Ghana. I found out that we were leaving on the same day at the same time but different flights back to the UK.
The girls finished unpacking and invited me out. I immediately accepted as I did not have experienced the Accra nightlife and Marie was not really up for going out at night. I invited her but she was resting in her bed and watching her program. Mog, Kate and I had a few drinks while divulging our love lives and getting dressed up for our long night out.
A tall slender beautiful mixed race girl joined us in our room. Her name was Billie, a jazz singer. She was friends with the girls and was going out with us. Mog received a call whilst we were in the lounge area, it was Aaron. We met Aaron, a lawyer, outside in his 4 x 4 tinted out car who was driving us to Osu. Max, the German staff member from the hostel, knew the girls and had mutual friends so he asked to join us in the car to go Osu to meet their mutual friend for dinner. Aaron welcomed us in and Mog and Kate shared the front seat while the rest of us sat at the back. The party of 6 was well on the way as we cruised down the streets.
We entered Osu, a very popular area for party-goers and tourists. When we were 5 minutes away from our destination, Republic bar, two police officers had set up a barrier to control the area. Aaron spotted the barrier coming ahead and told Kate to get out and start walking because it was illegal to be over the capacity of the car limit. Immediately, she jumped out a few meters before and walked ahead of the car. The police spotted our black tinted out windows ride and flagged us. Aaron pulled down his window and when they saw white people in his car, he was asked for ID and for everyone to step out of the vehicle. One police officer was questioning him in Twi about where he was going and if he had been drinking over the limit (but Aaron does not drink). The other officer turned on his torch and proceeded to search the trunk and inside the car. When they could not find anything, their attention turned to Max. They asked him to open his bag and out his content. As they were going through his tobacco pack, they found a dime bag filled with weed (later I found out his friend left it in there when he used some of the tobacco early on that day and left some weed as a “thank you”). We were shocked!
They took Max for further questioning across the road away from us and Aaron went to them to see if he could help. The rest of us were in disbelief but we hoped that he would bribe the police so we could continue with our night out. It must have been 10 minutes since the police had Max at the opposite side of the road. Mog reassured us that Max will not be harmed but held in the police station until bail (without facing prosecution) or they would take the bribe and let him walk. Aaron ran back to us in the care and said that they are taking him in. We were shocked but Max looked very calm when they put him in the back of a taxi accompanied by a police officer. Aaron thought Max was taking in because he resisted the search and he was rude to the officer. After Max left, we continued to the bar.
We pulled up to the bar and it was buzzing with young professionals, both locals and tourists, drinking, smoking, dancing to the music the dj was mixing and conversing. I felt like I was in Soho, London. It was hip, youthful and party central. We went straight to the bar to order some drinks where we met a local and an Indian expat who were interested in Billie and Kate. After tasting our ‘special’ cocktails we found a table outside next to the DJ and started mingling with the guys. Halfway through our conversation, Mog and Kate recognised a handsome Ghanaian young man. They got up and hugged him. He was an ex of one of the girls. He joined us whilst Billie went to buy us a round of cocktails.
As we were getting ready to leave to go to find another bar, I went to use the toilet. On my return, a Rastafarian man stopped me to compliment my “natural” beauty and locs. I thanked him and pardoned myself away. We hopped into the jeep and headed to a Shisha bar and club. It was packed with young people looking for a good time. We went straight to the dance floor and danced. A young Ghanaian man with a full beard caught my eye and he came over brimming with confidence and we started dancing. Two songs in and he wanted my number. I asked for his name but because the music was so loud and with his accent, I did not understand much of what he said. He persisted for my number so I gave him my English number knowing fully well that he will not call me and I was not on WhatsApp. Billie left with her private driver and we decided to follow suit.
After a cooling off in the hot night air outside of the club, we made our exit and Aaron took us to our hostel. On our way, the girls wanted some side road sausages cooked on the grill opposite Republic bar. I looked at the meat and thought it would end well. The girls brought back their mystery meat looking skewers into the vehicle and all talk turned to sex all the way home.
It was 3:30 am and I was tired. The girls and I hugged Aaron and went inside to collapse in the lounge area to rest before heading to our room. We reviewed our night, speculated what may have happened to Max since we could not find him. By 4 am we headed to our beds to sleep off our night out.