It seems like I have been in Ghana long enough to have “old friends.” Waiting in line at the bus station, I ran into Kwame….the guy who picked me up from the airport and sat next to me on the bus from Accra to Kumasi…over four years ago- crazy!
Accra shut down for Ghana’s Independence Day (July 1st), so we spent the day riding around in a tiny neon green car (driven by a technician from a tech NGO we are partnering with) in search of transformers for the two freezers included in the shipments. As Ghana prepared for the evening world cup “football” game against Uruguay (a process which involved lots of face painting and taxi decorating), we headed to Cape Coast for a day of hiking and being tourists.
Decked out in jerseys and Ghanaian flags, we watched the game in our guesthouse bar, which also seemed to be a convenient location for several groups of fully uniformed police officers and military officers. The game was incredible…two rounds of overtime and penalty shots, which brought on plenty of dancing, fist pounding, gun waving and screaming sprints through the streets. Unfortunately, Ghana lost by one goal in penalty shots, but hopefully we will be back in 2014 for the next world cup!
We packed our overstuffed backpacks (you would never guess how heavy 60 cliff bars feel until they are on your back), said goodbye to Accra, and headed to Bolgatanga, the capital of the Upper-East Region. We knew the bus ride was going to be long when we started by sitting in a gas station for 45 minutes, when we crawled along the dirt road detours to avoid construction, and when the bus driver popped in “part 3” of a terrible Nigerian movie, but it didn’t fully hit until we staggered from the bus at 2am (after 17ish hours) into the sticky night heat of Bolga. Fingers crossed that a taxi would magically arrive at the empty station, we climbed through the maze of rice, plantains, and a banana tree that had accumulated in the aisle. After tying our bags onto the back of a shared taxi and knocking on doors of several guesthouses, a half-asleep night watchman dragged an extra mattress into an empty room and we collapsed for the night.
Today was a typically unproductive Ghanaian Sunday spent exploring the “city,” spending an hour trying to load gmail at an internet café, and willing the day to cool off. Tomorrow is full of meetings and visits to two new hospitals…should be a great day.
Too hot to type any more!!