Tuesday, September 11, 2007

Friday, August 10

We arrived in Accra around 4:00 AM. It took a while to get through customs. Peter and the hotel chauffeur were waiting for us outside. I paid $40 to the porters and $10 to the driver from Mensvic. I also paid $10 to the woman at the front desk. We arrived at 5:30 AM. Peter met the man with the rental car and I went to meet them at 7 AM.

I slept until 9 AM and met the others at breakfast, which I was in no shape to eat. We decided that we would all go downtown to purchase the boots and cutlasses (machetes).

We drove to Tudu area close to the MTTU (Motor Traffic Unit) and to Novotel and purchased 180 cutlasses and 82 boots (Wellington boots.) We paid $600 for the cutlasses and $600 for the boots, approximately. It took hours to get this done--perhaps until 1 PM. Owners of stores were both Lebanese and were very nice and efficient.

Tom purchasing rubber boots (called Wellingtons because Ghana was a British colony.)

The boxes of boots were quite voluminous; fortunately we had a roof-rack. Peter and I walked through an outdoor market, looking for the appropriate material. We found a large net designed to hold vegetables and made out of nylon. We also purchased some nylon twine. We paid someone $10 to help us find these items, which cost only about $5. We jammed the boots and machetes into the interior and drove back to the hotel.

We arrived back at the hotel at around 2 PM and the hotel doorman worked with Mark to attach the boxes of boots to the top of the car.

We left Accra and drove slowly through heavy traffic toward Cape Coast. We arrived at around 6 PM, ordered dinner in the restaurant next to the castle, then took a half hour to walk on the beach. We then ate dinner, my meal arriving a full 30 minutes after everyone else had gotten theirs. We had dinner with Abdullah.

We then set out for Jukwa, arriving around 9:30 PM. People were still waiting for us, amazingly enough. We had a short ceremony, agreeing to come back the next morning to disperse boots and cutlasses.

We drove further north and turned off the blacktop onto a rutted dirt road. This was fine until we came to a large lumber truck blocking our way. We drove with the left wheels in the forest, then turned back onto the road and negotiated somewhat challenging dips until we came to the village--a total of perhaps 2 km. It was 10:30 PM and the village was completely black. However, Peter was able to find a few persons who were awake and, within 10 minutes, we were surrounded by people. We hung around the porch of a small house that we were supposed to sleep in. Our hosts lined the floor with plastic sheets covered with cotton sheets.

Meanwhile, quite a lot of hullaballoo was happening on the porch. Some people brought this kerosene lamp for light. Lots of people came and sat on the porch with us.

Kate had already gathered children about her and was enjoying their company. Here are some children who were very excited to meet a white woman!

After about a half hour--near 11 PM--a bonfire was started with ends of bamboo, and the village crier went around with the "Gong-Gong", waking people up with a brass gong and a stick.

The bonfire was very bright, and dozens of people began a singing and dancing and drumming session that lasted until 2 AM.

Around 1 AM, being extremely tired, Peter and I took a shower at the well (borehole) in the dark and I went to bed. Kate and Mark continued dancing but were quite tired the next day. We all slept in the same room on a "concrete" floor with thin sheets covering it. I slept badly from about 1 AM until 5 AM when the roosters began to crow and the women were out sweeping the dirt.

1 comment:

Melissa said...

I love that you noted that your meal took a full 30 minutes after everyone else's.

Its notes of interest like this, that make me adore you even more.

(Did you bring any white lightening with you to pass the time?)