First days in Ghana

Like most visitors to Ghana, we arrived at Kotoka Airport in Accra, the capital of Ghana, a large city teeming with humanity. And traffic. A city with over 2 million people and a marked shortage of paved roads. One could enjoy Accra much more if it did not take more than an hour, at any time of day, to crawl five miles by un-airconditioned taxi or bus. Following recent rains, the humidity was intense, but temperatures did not go much above 90 degrees, making the climate bearable. We instantly became fans of cool showers, which is a good thing considering there is no hot water at most hotels. Our good friend and mentor in Ghana, attorney Tobiga Somtim, was just around the corner from our lodging. We also met with Basko Kante, a Ghanaian friend and an Oregonian who spends about half his time Ghana. Our efforts in Ghana are greatly helped by guidance from these two men.

After we purchased a cell phone modem, a device you attach to your computer for internet access, we sweated through Accra traffic in taxi and bus rides finding someone to configure our Linux based laptop so the modem would work. It felt like nothing short of a miracle when we were actually able to connect to the internet. Another day was spent getting paperwork to register our organization in Ghana, an important step to make the student scholarship/loan program more official. The forms were surprisingly easy to get, but they are very detailed and must be TYPED in quadruplicate. Over the next few days we will be looking for a typist in Bolga to help us out.

Our chance to experience some air conditioning came on the 15 hour bus ride from Accra to Bolgatanga. We decided to pay extra (tickets were $30 each) and go by way of the “Executive Bus” at night. The bus had plenty of leg space (I think of David as ‘Daddy Long Legs’) and luxurious 30 degree reclining seats. With only ½ of a sleeping pill one could could have a mostly comfortable night. And just in case I needed to test my knee mobility, the only bathroom stop was the chance to squat in a brushy patch alongside the road; women to the right, men to the left. The stop was a good reminder of what daily life is like for most Africans.

Women who sell in the markets are transporting the bags of food and clothing. It all fits under o inside of the bus.