Mar(k): Travel, Hiking, and "Doing Good"

musings on our life of travel and volunteering

When things don’t go to plan…

with 8 comments

Flexibility. Undoubtedly this will be a key attribute that will serve us well as volunteers here in Ghana. Upon arriving at the airport in Accra – no – wait. Let me start earlier. The good news was that we ended up checking in about 95 kg of luggage in Perth. Thank you Emirates for being compassionate and not charging us excess allowance (over the 80 kg we had been granted). However, our 12 hour flight to Dubai had us sitting separately (*sigh*), as sardines, as we were both lodged firmly between “others” in the middle seat – across the airplane from one another; not a spare seat to be had…. Fortunately, we managed to negotiate (with a kindly man who swapped with us) seats together for the 7 hour flight to Accra from Dubai. A glimpse of things to come became apparent to us – as the only other large airplane at the airport had a rather large, imposing “United Nations” emblem on its side. Here we are – in the land of development aid! A speedy processing through customs and immigration was quite painless. So we headed into the arrivals hall and waited. And waited. And… waited. 2 hours in fact. 3 hours. No VSO happy, smiling person to greet us. We were three – Mark, myself and Aaron – a fellow VSO volunteer from Brisbane. Mar the negotiator eventually got a taxi organized (not easy to find one big enough for we three plus 10 large bags)… and life became quite a bit better once we got settled, had some sleep, etc… in a simple but clean guest house. We have now been united with the twenty or so other volunteers and accompanying partners who will work in Ghana for the next few years. I expect we will form friendships, share experiences and grow together. For now, we have registered with the Australian High Commission in Ghana, and the in country training has begun!


Written by Mar(k)

September 23, 2009 at 7:48 am

Posted in Life in Ghana

8 Responses

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  1. Wow…what a big change Mar! I’m really excited for you both…and looking forward to reading your blog from time to time. I think that spring has finally started in Perth…as others may have told you it’s been one of the wetest Septembers on record…but the sun has finally come out to play! Sure you’ve got lot’s of that in Tamale! All the best.

    Paul Tang Nian

    September 25, 2009 at 1:14 am

  2. wow. the adventure has surely begun! i hope that you have been having a bit of a rest from the intensive training that you both have been having. really enjoying your blog updates and sharing some of your experiences, albeit ‘vicariously’! look forward to hearing more.


    September 26, 2009 at 10:45 am

  3. Mark & Mar, take care and all the best with the journey. Trust you are doing just fine dealing with the culture shock. Keep posting !!

    Dicky S

    September 29, 2009 at 1:55 am

  4. … and the adventure begings. Looking forward to hear more soon.


    September 29, 2009 at 6:57 am

  5. Mar and Mark, So happy you have arrived safely and are starting to get into the system. Holding the fort back here, and hoping that all goes well for you over there. Mind you, my bt is easy — I know yours is going to be infinitely harder. Thinking of you both — Wal


    October 3, 2009 at 10:14 am

  6. Look forward to hearing how the homestead is in Tamale. Hope all is well and water is refreshing.

    Funny to look at Paul comment above and see spring in Perth. Yes there is about to be much weather talk from my neck of the woods. We are just getting the first snow fall, kids threw on snow suits and ran outside as fast as humanly possible. It starts out at the begining of the season as brisk and fresh. But as you know by the end the description turn to @$%*& cold and *&#$%$# freezing. So it starts.

    Anyways we send you lots of love. And of course look forward to hearing more!

    Other Mar

    October 3, 2009 at 5:24 pm

  7. Hey! I didn’t know you went with Mark! That’s a pleasant surprise. What a team! The best best of luck with this incredible challenge. Let’s face it: you two are doing what most of us would like to do but don’t have the guts for. I don’t think my 3 years in Gabon with daddy Shell and an expat salary counted towards development aid… Very much look forward to following the blog. As some food for thought, once you are settled in and have identified a project which is in need of some additional financial assistance, don’t forget your supporters here in Australia may be able to shake some trees and pass the tin… At least it is more than just moral support!

    Take care. Go team!


    October 5, 2009 at 12:47 pm

    • hey Reinoud! what a team indeed! We are slowly settling in. Thanks so much for your comment – and INDEED – passing the tin is DEFINITELY part of the plan! There are a number of extremely professional, non-government organisations here which certainly have a need! so the tin will require some shaking, that’s for sure! we’ll keep you posted, mate!

      Mar Knox

      October 5, 2009 at 4:09 pm

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