Our first day in Lawra started out in typical Ghanaian style, as we learned that all the health officials we had planned to meet with were gone for the weekend, that the internet and cell towers were down, and that Emily’s computer charger took this opportune time to break, thanks to previous puppy chewing back in the States. Slightly dejected, we headed off to the market to shop for dinner, and then stopped by the town’s main (aka “only”) restaurant to meet up with an old friend. I was surprised by a huge hug, and turned around to see the District Commission (similar to a Mayor) who was meeting his nephew at the restaurant’s other table.
On the way back to our guesthouse, the DC causally mentioned that the Minister of Health was in town and that maybe Emily and I wanted to stop by and give him the summary lists of the shipments we sent…ummm…YES! We hurriedly tucked in our shirts (thank goodness we decided to wear dress pants and our MedPLUS polos that morning), and stuffed the garlic, tomatoes, and onions we were carrying into our bags. The Minister greeted us with an exclamation of “my girlfriends!” gave us big hugs, and told us to order some drinks, and it better not be coca cola ☺
We spent the next three hours sitting in plastic chairs under the shade of a big tree, splitting oversized Star beers three ways with the Minister (or, more accurately, 3 glasses for the minister for every one sip between us) and hoping that the tomatoes weren’t squishing all over our cameras and notebooks. Interspersed with fascinating comments about American history, global politics, and memories from his years teaching at Yale and Cornell, were stories about his first girlfriend, a few hilarious (and somewhat inappropriate jokes) and stories about lunches with “Michelle and Barack” (yes, in case you were wondering, he did tell Michelle Obama that she should leave her husband and become his wife)….I love Ghana!