Welcome to Ghana!

Friday, August 17 in Accra

Good morning, Friends.

The adventure has started well. I arrived safely, with all my luggage.  I had too much luggage so had pay quite a bit for it. Everything was checked through to Accra. Lucky that I was strongly advised in OKC to have ONLY ONE piece of hand luggage, including my computer, handbag, etc, so Peter ran back home and brought me a bag.  This is truly strictly adhered to in the London Heathrow airport.  Otherwise everything went smoothly. We arrived in Accra around 8:40 p.m. on Friday. I felt warmth in my heart walking from the plane to the departure hall! “Welcome to Ghana; Akwaaba!” I felt like I was walking into open arms, on to the bosom of Ghana, my Motherland!

I had my first pleasant interaction with the security guard at the airport, charged to keep non travelers outside. With my 5 pieces of luggage of about 65 lb a piece, I had to have two loads. I went through customs with no problem, and when I came out my uncle (‘my sister Sala’s’ Dad - Jacob Tampuri) who was to meet me had not yet arrived. (Jacob is my age mate so I call him Jacob). The security man gave me his cell phone to call my uncle. He also offered to look after my luggage while I went back for the 2nd load, giving me his badge as guarantee. When I came back out he and my uncle had connected.  He helped us our through the crowd and load the luggage in the pick up trucked, and advised us how we could get out safely. I was so impressed and thankful. Of course, I had no Ghana money and very few small $ bills. I gave him all I had - $8.00 and he was very happy and I was the happier. We spent the night at a relative’s house in Accra; Jacob knows them but I don’t.

The next day, Saturday we left at 5 a.m. and arrived in Kumasi at Jacob’s around 11 a.m.

I spent the afternoon with Jacob and others at a huge funeral celebration for the father of one of our ‘Mamprusi brothers’ here. He is a medical assistant (called doctor) who has been in the Kumasi area for over 25 years. [Yes, funerals for the elderly are really celebrations of the life of the deceased].  There were traditional Mamprusi dances as well as of other ethnic groups. It was wonderful. Of course, I forgot my camcorder. I did take some pictures.  I spent most of Sunday with my childhood friend who now lives here. I have just been taking in the sounds, smells, faces, indeed everything around me.


Monday, August 20-21

I finalized the purchase of a Nissan pickup vehicle and took delivery of it yesterday.  I also applied for a Ghana driver’s license that took forever to process. I am glad that Jacob came with me; we got through the whole process and I now have a temporary GH license to use until November when the real one will be ready.  I have a few little things to finish with the vehicle today.

I leave tomorrow morning to Tamale, a 7-hour drive. Cell phones are ubiquitous here. Everyone, almost, has one; at offices, in the market, at home; It is incredible! There are three main cell phone companies: Tigo, MNT (formerly areeba) and OneTouch, the oldest in the countries. None of these however is completely reliable or has nationwide coverage. So many people have two chips to stay connected. I have joined the crowd.  I have two phone numbers: + 233 20 701 9683 (OneTouch);  + 233 24 509 5457 (MTN)


Wednesday, August 22-23

I will find out more about internet connections in Tamale. There are possibilities here, but none extends beyond Tamale Metropolitan area.  I went to Oxfam UK, EQUALL (Education quality for All), School for life and ACDEP (Association of Church Devt Project) Secretariat to make contact. Unfortunately, all the lead people were out of town.  Will follow up next time I’m in Tamale.


Thursday, August 24

Arrived in Bongbini, native village. Surprised them because although they knew I was coming, they did not know the exact date.  The rain season has been exceptionally wet this year.  You have probably heard in the news about floods in parts of Africa.  Same in Ghana, especially in the North.


Friends, that is all for now. I hope I can send it from internet café in town.



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