Wednesday, 16 May 2012

It’s Just a Step to the Left!




It is 11:00 in the morning in Ghana, I am sitting on a bus (with air conditioning!!) heading to Tamale for my in country training.  The last 24 hours have been a bit of a blur, but I will do my best to recount every big event or cool tidbit.  Here we go!

(for added effect listen to The Time Warp from the Rocky Horror Picture Show while listening)

Toronto – 6:00PM

After rounding up all of my gear for the trip me and two other JFs set out to be the first ones at the airport (and save a little money doing it) and decided to brave the busses.  One streetcar, one subway and one city bus later we were standing at (the completely wrong side of) the terminal.  A ten minute walk later and we had handed over our bags and waited for the rest of the JFs to show up.  After clearing security and having a last drink and burger in the bar (tequila shot chased with some Heineken … I enjoyed one of those things) we were on the plane and on our way to Amsterdam!

Amsterdam – 12:00PM

Well, having just landed and gotten off the plane we decided to find our new gate.  After finding the gate may people (not me, apparently Sasktel doesn’t really care if you know) got texts from their service providers summarizing to:

Texts : $0.75
Calls  : $2.00/min
Data  : $0.03/kb

For those of you who don’t know, that would mean downloading a movie (usually 700mb) would result in a $21,500 phone bill.  I immediately turned my phone on airplane mode and have had it that way ever since.  After a wonderful impromptu piano recital from Ryan (Nocturne in B flat minor) we all cleared security and got aboard the flight. 

            When I took my seat in the plane I was informed (in Dutch) by a police officer that there would be two people being deported on the flight, and that one of them was quite upset and would likely be screaming.  I then told him I didn’t understand a word he said, and repeated it in English.  At the time of the warning I didn’t think much of this, I have heard people scream before, and I have seen people upset before.  

I was wrong.  The man was quite large, and did not want to be on the plane, his screams rang through the plane until we had taken off, and were then replaced momentarily by weeping, and then silence.  He was screaming as if he was being taken to his death.  I wish I knew more of his story.

Accra – 8:00PM

Well, we all got off the airplane and hit ‘the wall’, the wall of humidity that is.  The heat wasn’t bad – 26 Celsius, and the sun had been down for around an hour or two.  Getting into the terminal and flashing my yellow fever immunization card got me into the immigration lines.  An hour and a half later we had gotten all our bags and met the APS who would be taking care of us for the next little while.  A short taxi ride later to the guest house and I was setting up my mosquito net in hopes of a bite free night.  The place was very nice – an outlet to charge my computer and even a shower, only one temperature – cold.  It was bliss.



Well, that pretty much brings us to today, we woke early – got the bus terminal at around 5:30 so we could take the 6:00 bus to Tamale.  Two and a half hours later the bus showed up and we were on our way.  The first rest stop let me pay 0.20 Cedi to use the washroom, and then I got a meat pie (the friggen best ever!)  and some very fresh and very wonderful mango for dessert.  

The next day we did some cool team training stuff, then went to the market to buy an assortment of supplies.  We got phones, passport pictures, and many other things - including my very first 'Star' beer (a Ghanian beer) which was very good.  Still don't have internet though - I need to get an MTN data stick, which I am not very sure when I will get - but they are around 60 Cedis for 4 gigs of 3G data (around $10 a gig, which seems fairly inline with Canadian prices)  

Anyways, I should stop stealing another JF's data stick for tonight (Thanks Cecile!!)

Until next time!
-Nathan

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