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 23 – It is hard to say goodbye
By the time I woke up, Marie, Yannick and Karla had left the hostel. Marie went to catch her morning flight and the other two went to travel towards the North. I felt sad that my time was coming to an end. I showered and went to have breakfast. When I reached the lounge area, Nida greeted me and announced that she was leaving after breakfast. We hugged and said our goodbyes. It felt nice to have connected to people when I started this journey by myself not knowing what would happen along the way.
I messaged Hubert to confirm that we were still meeting. He agreed to come to my hostel straight from work to go back to Labadi Beach, I was beyond excited! I ran upstair to start packing as he was 30 minutes away. It became real as I closed my old bulky suitcase. I had forgotten about my life back in England. I was enjoying my life here in Ghana with my friends and Hubert.
Kate and Mog left our suite early to go back to the club they were at on Sunday to try and find Kate’s purse and phone so I had an empty room to reflect in. I had butterflies in my stomach when I received an email from Hubert to say he had arrived. I wiped the sweat off my bow, fixed my hair and ran downstairs to greet him at the gate. We kissed and held hands as we walked to the dining area. We did a quick catch up before we walked the main road to catch a taxi to go to the beach.
We arrived at the beach in the afternoon. My hand in his we walked down the beach n silence. I guess we both felt sad that we had to cut our dating short and what will become of our friendship once I leave. Hubert found us a table and we snuggled under the umbrella and ordered some drinks. I lay on his chest caressing his face and we dialogued. It was such a peaceful day and everything felt perfect as it did on our first date. We had our favourite band come over and give us a few Bob Marley and Tarrus Riley renditions. We sang along to the tunes and gave a tip. I felt myself sinking into his chest and my feet in the sand.
A mature man approached us and in his hands he held brightly decorated instruments like small drums and shakers. He introduced himself and told us his story of how he made his instruments. He had such a great presence about him. A brightly coloured Kora caught my interest. I wanted it as a present. I asked Hubert if he could haggle for me and with a lot of banter, he got me it for my agreed price. As Hubert was plucking away at the strings, I announced to him that this was a present for him. He was bold over and we shared a kiss. I was going to miss him and I wanted him to remember me.
Soon after, Hubert got us a taxi and we headed back to the city. He jumped out as he needed to go to the bank. He told me that he would see me later before he goes to work. We kissed and I watched leave. I felt really sad and with a mix of emotions of leaving Ghana, the children and Hubert, I became tearful. It had hit me hard: I was leaving! The taxi driver stopped me in front of the hostel and I got out. I was greeted by Mog and Kate who were hanging out with other guests in the pool. I sat poolside and as I divulged my date and how I felt about leaving Ghana. They shared my sadness as they loved Ghana as much as I did.
I went to my room and dragged down my bags and suitcase down the stair and into the lounge area. I checked out at the office then I went to warm up my leftovers from Aunty Helen’s Saturday lunch. The staff came in the kitchen and told me that they will miss me. I hugged them all and then went to eat my early dinner. Kate and Mog joined me in the lounge and we agreed that we would leave in a few hours and share a taxi to the airport. I was not ready to leave! I took out my laptop and checked for messages from Hubert but the hostel’s there were none.
We had 90 mins before we got our taxi. I took out my laptop and checked for messages from Hubert but the hostel’s internet was down. I grew frustrated as I knew that something had gone wrong for Hubert not to be at the hostel. Mog kindly offered her phone. I logged into Facebook to check my messages. No messages from Hubert or online presence. I video called him a few times to no avail. I finally figured he fell asleep. When I was just getting ready to log off, he messaged me to say he had overslept and that he is going to miss me. I felt at peace and told the girls I was ready for the taxi.
We got to the airport and we parted ways to check-in but agreed that we would meet up once in the departure lounge. As I walked to join the queue for check-in, I spotted a familiar face. It was Aunty Ellen (from Hubert’s hotel)! I was overwhelmed with joy as I did not feel so sad. We embraced each other and caught up our time in Ghana while queuing. She was happy to be returning home to her family. I told her about my day with Hubert and she told me he was like a son to her and he would be a lovely partner to a lucky woman. I was impressed by this character reference and knew I had met someone genuine. We separated at security and agreed to meet back at the gate.
There was a lot of waiting around and by the time I got to the lounge, it was deserted as it was late at night. The girls’ flight was an hour earlier than mine so they probably were at their gate at the other end of the airport. I went through all the checks at the gate and sat down next to Aunty Ellen. After our boarding time passed, we received an announcement that the flight was delayed. Passengers became disgruntled another hour passed. It was after 11 pm, our pilot came out and announced that he could not fly the plane as a part was needed since it malfunctioned and the part would have to be flown in from Heathrow. Another flight staff followed on to say that we would be grounded for another 24 hours. The passengers went hysterical and walked towards the staff demanding what they will do. I was not panicked but I knew that I had no extra money for a hotel and taxi. The staff announced over the intercom that they were going to organise accommodation and bus shuttle. People were calling their loved ones to relay the information. I could not get hold of my family as th4e airport had no wifi for me to email them.
As it drew pass 1 am, they asked us to make our way through security then luggage claims to prepare to board the shuttle. After the security checks, we were stopped by another staff member and was informed that the flight was fit fo flight. We all became really concerned after hearing the new announcement. As we walked back to the gate, all of us were annoyed and distrustful of our safety. I prayed and sat back down next to Aunty Ellen. After a further wait of 30 minutes, we boarded and waited for the plane to take off. I sat next to an elderly Ghanaian woman, Aunty Phillis and the other side of me was a German Cameraman as part of a filming crew. With a pray in my heart, the plane took off.
We landed 4 hours later than our original arrival time. I said goodbye to Aunty Phillis as she was in transit to New York, we struck up a warm rapport and swapped numbers. I walked with Aunty Ellen as we went through passport patrol and luggage claim. My mother rang me to say she was at parking lot waiting. I hugged Aunty Ellen and walked towards where mum said she was parked. All I could think of, “I want to be back in Ghana now” with tears down my eyes. I vowed I will return next year. I hugged my mum, packed my suitcase in the trunk and told mum of my adventures.