Thursday, July 24, 2008

Lions and Tigers and Bears...Oh My

I am sitting in Accra, the capital of Ghana at an internet cafe writing to you right now. I am with six other volunteers. All of us are staying in Ghana for 6 - 8 weeks so we decided to travel to Mole together. Mole is in northern Ghana and is where you can go on a safari and see elephants, monkeys, antelope, and other animals if you are lucky. Our original plan was to leave for Mole this morning on an airplane but that plan quickly changed when we arrived at the airport yesterday to buy our tickets. We were told by numerous people, including a group of volunteers who traveled to Mole three weeks ago that we needed to go to the airport by 4:30pm the day before and buy our tickets. This information was confirmed by an airport worker when we called and tried to reserve seats for our trip. We left placement early on Thursday, grabbed our bags, and hopped in the tro tro for the 4 hour ride to Accra. The ride was extremely uncomfortable as the tro tro we took was not in great shape and the bumpy dirt and rock roads did not help. We took a back route to get to Accra so that we would not have to stop and wait at the bridge which they are still doing construction on. After a bit of traffic in Accra, we finally reached the airport. we told Isaac, our driver that we would be back in 15-20 minutes. The joke was on us. we never imagined that it would be 3 hours before we saw Isaac again. We talked to the information desk to find out where to buy our tickets...things were going well...we were given directions and arrived at the counter only to find out that the flight to Tamale on Friday morning was full. uh oh. now what? We weren't all that surprised but we were hopping that there would still be a way to get to Tamale on Friday. oh boy, we were wrong.

We had already gotten permission to take today (Friday) off from placement so we were a bit hesitant about asking for Monday off too but the airline was not offering us any other choice. They told us that the only way for us to get to Mole would be to fly out on Saturday. As they took four of us into the office, the three others called CCS to discuss our options. We would either have to take off Monday and move our trip back and day, spend the weekend in Accra and drive back to Hohoe on Sunday -- missing our trip to Mole which we had been looking forward to, or fly to Mole on Saturday and return on Sunday -- an option that did not sound too good to most of us. CCS told us to wait an hour while they talked to the manager of our program. We didn't have an hour. It was 4pm by now and the office where we were to buy our tickets was supposed to close at 4:30. What a dilemma. A crazy one at that. We were starting to freak out. What were we going to do?

We decided to call back CCS and get an answer as to whether we could take Monday off. We were given permission to do whatever we needed...meaning that we could take Monday off. yay! Things were looking bright for us, right? Next, we needed to call Mole National Park and make sure we could change our room reservations from Friday to Saturday. This posed some problems when we were told that there were no more rooms. Great After talking to the reception desk for awhile they were finally able to find us two rooms for Saturday night -- mission accomplished. We were all ecstatic...our trip to Mole would still be possible...we had an emotion, crazy few hours and encountered a few minor problems but we would be able to go.

Next it was off to the counter to buy our tickets...we were sent back to the office to make reservations. Buying our tickets was a whole other story...this process took forever!!! They had to put our reservations into the system and write the tickets and collect the money...sounds simple, right? Apparently not. Many problems arouse along the way but finally after being at the airport for 3 hours we were all walking out with tickets in our hands! Success! Luckily Isaac was still there and waiting for us and had not taken off with all of our belongings.

Today we are hanging out in Accra and tomorrow morning at 6:30am we will be taking off to fly to Mole! Hopefully our experiences at the airport tomorrow will be a little smoother than yesterdays!

I love you all!

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