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

musings on our life of travel and volunteering

Final Days in Accra

with 2 comments

We were surprised at how full on the week of training in Accra was.   Not a lot of time for checking out the town, etc….   and a fairly representative flavor of this situation was one of the volunteers, who made the wry comment that the biggest cultural step for HIM in Accra thus far – had been the “management” speak that overwhelmed him in the training!     However, the five days of in country training provided us with a good flavor of VSO working in Ghana.  There are clearly some significant challenges that we will face as volunteers.  Not least of which is learning the local language of Tamale which is Dagbani….  However, we ARE making the effort, as greetings here are very important, and the locals love it when we attempt our hellos in Dagbani. 

 As volunteers, we are about as diverse as can be.  We have shared our training with folks from the Philippines, Canada, Kenya, Uganda, the UK and the Netherlands.  Not everyone is “worldly wise” – as one fellow’s experience highlighted to us.  He missed his flight from Heathrow to Accra because he had managed to get into the business class lounge for the first time (through his brother who works for British Airways).  He imbibed in a few top shelf spirits, and then spent 10 minutes trying to find a cashier to pay for his consumption!   Once realizing it was gratis, he raced off to the gate, but alas – it had closed….   So he showed up a day late to Accra!

 The fourteen hour overnight bus trip to Tamale was an adventure in itself.  Strangely enough, we felt fairly safe, as there were six volunteers making the journey, and we were all grouped together at the back of the bus / coach.  In the very last row, right ahead of some of “our” group – was a police officer; picture full uniform, pressed and proper – complete with AK47 rifle.  Charming.  Mark made the comment that we’d be safe, until gunfire broke out – at which point we would be in the direct line of any target…. Hmmmm….

 At least as scary for me was the stops that were made every 3 hours or so.  I had been warned not to drink much on the journey, as the facilities enroute were pretty basic.  Unfortunately, I was lulled into a false sense of security as the first two were actually quite fine.  Not so Stop #4.   Evil, evil, evil loo stop.  I have travelled pretty widely, and relieved myself in some pretty interesting situations – but Stop #4 wins the award for scariest loo stop EVER.  Picture a shared trough that has gone horribly, horribly wrong.  Enough said.


Written by Mar(k)

October 5, 2009 at 2:36 pm

2 Responses

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  1. And to think this is the Mar who once had a separate bedroom just for her clothes . . . . 🙂

    I’m looking forward sharing vicariously in your adventure!


    October 8, 2009 at 1:25 am

    • ah yes – the good old days! I shock even myself here… I have limited myself to one mere wardrobe for all my worldly clothing possessions! amazing, that! but a girl’s gotta do, what a girl’s gotta do! : )

      Mar Knox

      October 8, 2009 at 4:27 pm

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