With the recommended dosage of Immodium in my belly, Joe and I got in a cab and journeyed on to our Globe Aware meeting point. In the cab, I was amazed by all of the people on the street selling goods – everything from hairbrushes to snacks. When the cab stopped at a red light, the car was quickly surrounded by people selling their goods/products. Beautifully balancing their items on their head, they’d try to sell their goods to anyone willing. Although it took some time to get used to being surrounded by people whenever the car came to a halt, neither Joe or I felt accosted or anything like that. In some ways, one can see how practical this commerce system is. I think of it as their version of the drive-thru. I wonder though, if the practicality goes both ways. For the driver, it is a very convenient system, but is that true for the seller, stuck outside in the rain and trying to get interest in their sliced fruit? I don’t know.
Our cab driver took us to the Pink Hostel in a different neighborhood in Accra. Again, the lack of familiar addresses made it difficult to ask to go somewhere, but our driver got us their quickly and with ease. Joe and I were the first to arrive at the meeting spot. The small mini-van was waiting, but none of the participants, nor the head of the Globe Aware program in Ghana, Richard, were there. We were told Richard had gone to pick up some of the participants and was on his way back.
The quiet, serene street was in opposition to my mounting excitement. I wanted to be on our way. I wanted to see the Volta region – where we were staying, who we’d be working with, what we’d be doing. Not long after we’d arrived, a cab pulled up and out came a man with a backpack. This was Scott. Not on the original list of participants, Scott, in a constant state of wanderlust, had decided to come at the last minute. In just a few minutes of conversation, I discovered that he’d been to many, many places in the world for work and for recreation. I was immediately envious. What would life be like spending 6 months here, 6 months there? Nervously, I told Scott the project that I was embarking on. Quickly he agreed to be a part of it and said he didn’t mind being filmed. Whew! One down!
A short while after Scott arrived, another cab pulled up and out came Richard – greeting Joe and I with a warm hug and kind eyes. Also exiting the cab were Jodee, Wayne and their son, Wyatt. A family filled with energy and wrapped in bug-sprayed bandannas, they loquaciously described the problems they encountered in getting to Accra. How they were stuck in Nigeria for a time, how Wyatt had gotten sick on the journey and how they didn’t know if they were going to get to the meeting place on time. Joe and I then explained our project and all 3 seemed excited by the prospect.
Richard interrupted our conversation to explain that we were still waiting for two more participants – a writer, George, and his son Eamon. George was delayed at a jewlers, so Richard said it would be easier to pick him up there.
We packed the van and then crowded in. Joe and I sat in the back and observed everyone else. A short drive later, we arrived at the meeting place to pick George and his son up. With two more in tow, we smushed into the now, very tightly packed van and began our journey to the Volta Region.
I had to steal myself thinking about how amazing it was that this was happening. Joe and I had our press passes, Richard had had a long talk with a representative at the Ministry of Information’s Office and cleared our trip and all but George and Eamon had agreed to be on film.
I was in Africa. I was in Ghana. This was happening.
Kindness in the New Year
10 months ago