A chronicle of Alison and Ron's trip around the world in 2009-2010.

"Not all those who wander are lost"
- Tolkien

Wednesday, September 9, 2009

Out of (our element in) Africa

When we arrived at the airport and got through customs I saw a sign with an arrow that said “Way out” and I nearly cried both from the fact that we are finally in an English speaking country and that there is no hint of pretense in their choice of grammar. Where is the way out? Over there. I already love Ghana.

Since it was still the wee hours of the morning, we decided to stick around the airport for awhile until it was a more reasonable hour to be wandering around trying to figure out local transportation. A few hours later, a taxi driver approached us, and after some discussion of the bad traffic that would soon ensue, we hitched a ride to Kaneshie station where we could transfer to a Tro-tro (small bus) to Kokrobite. When we arrived at Kaneshie, it was in complete and utter chaos, and this was at 5am in the morning. It felt like it was the end of the world. The masses of people swarming on both sides of the streets, women with massive bowls balanced on their heads and babies wrapped to their backs, muscled men surrounding the taxi on all sides and shouting at us in language we didn’t understand. Ron and I both looked at each other and simultaneously asked the driver to take us all the way to the hotel. No matter the cost. We were seriously in over our heads and ill prepared with little sleep and little information. I mean to say, we were scared shitless.

The taxi made its way through Accra and then turned down a terribly bumpy dirt road towards the south coast. As we passed the roadside villages in the early light of dawn, my heart sank. My eyes unsure of what to focus on, as everything was unfamiliar, the mud huts and poverty stricken people squatting by the fires, washing up in buckets. Children, dirty and malnourished, wandering alone and barefoot. It was just like that Sally Struthers commercial a decade or so ago for the Christian Childrens Fund. You know the one we all made fun of that begged us in a whiny voice not to change the channel. It was like we were there. Somehow transported off our velvet couches in our cushy little lives through our 50” flat panel tv sets to the other side of the world. A world we never truly believed really existed (or wished didn‘t). Now I’m asking myself, what am I doing here? And more importantly, what am I going to do when I have to get out of this taxi? My mind raced right alongside my elevated pulse.

We pulled in to Big Milly’s Backyard on Kokrobite Beach and my fears dissipated as we were greeted with a beaming smile by the assistant manager, Noah, whom we would later become good friends. The grounds were lovely filled with palm trees and grassy knolls, little thatched roof houses surrounding an inviting bamboo crafted bar. At most 100 yards to the beach, you could smell the sea in the air and hear the sound of the waves crashing softly in the background. The whole hotel was surrounded by a little wall, not exactly maximum security, but I felt safe for the first time since the airport. We retired into our own thatched roof hut. Slid onto the sandy purple tied dyed sheets under the well used mosquito net and drifted peacefully off to sleep until the early afternoon.


Rocky & Suzette September 20, 2009 at 8:59 PM  

Hello folks,
It’s great to see new posts on the leap! Your writing is so Professional, I’m almost embarrassed to leave comments because my writing is so primitive.
After months of touring Europe, Africa should be quite a change. We are really looking forward to your meeting with Salome.
I’m predicting that meeting Salome will be the highlight of your trip! Just above stopping in Oregon :-)
Love Rocky and Suzette

Alison September 21, 2009 at 12:47 PM  

We are just so HAPPY to get comments, keep em coming!

We visited Salomey's village last Thursday and it was a very emotional and life changing experience. Hope to post about it soon, but the internet connections in Africa (as you would imagine) are pretty slow.

Ronnie misses you and sends his love. Looking forward to stopping by Oregon again when we are back.

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