Monday, June 15, 2009

Cocka Doodle Do

On Saturday, after awakening early and finishing packing, I ate my breakfast and waited for Patrick to arrive as he wanted to escort me to the tro tro station. He arrived half an hour late – not too bad for Ghana time but somewhat unexpected as he is usually good about time. We took a taxi to the station which is in town and found the tro tro going to Ho. Patrick assisted me with buying my ticket and getting my stuff into the tro tro. As this is the public tro tro station, there are tro tros waiting to be filled up so that they can travel to one of various towns throughout Ghana. The only downside to this system is that sometimes it takes awhile for the tro tro to fill up so you just have to wait until more people who have the same destination as you show up. Luckily for me, the tro tro was almost full but unfortunately that meant that I had to sit in one of the end seats. These seats are the seats closest to the side of the tro tro where the door slides open. They fold up so that the people in the back can get in and out of the vehicle. And since they are not attached to other seats, they take all of the bumps quite harshly. We waited for one more passenger to enter the tro tro and then we were off. Or so I thought.

So most of the tro tros are not in very good condition. They run, at least most of the time. The one that we were in had some problems starting, so some of the other drivers and people standing in the station pushed the tro tro a bit and then the driver put the vehicle in reverse so that we could exit the parking spot. The driver had a bit of a difficult time controlling to vehicle as it was still not running properly and came close to hitting another one of the tro tros. All of the bystanders started yelling and telling the driver to stop. Luckily he stopped just in time. By now my heart was pounding quite quickly. I was somewhat scared. Or rather, very scared. The vehicle shut down and the people pushed the tro tro forward as the driver steered. The engine finally caught. I caught my breath. I was praying that the driver would not turn the vehicle off as I was scared that we would have the same issues again.

We pulled into the gas station just down the road and the driver left the engine running as he put gas in the tank. Now I take after my Aunt Lori and don’t understand why people let their gas tanks get so close to empty. I always see people here pushing taxis, tro tros, and other vehicles to the side of the road or a nearby gas station as they have run out of gas. Honestly, I think it is plain silly to wait to the last minute to get gas. I guess the drivers here are more like my sister or Aunt Sue, both whom wait until their gas tank lights are on to fill up.

After the vehicle was supplied with gas, everything was fine. After this little incident which got my heart pounding, the rest of the ride was pretty smooth (well, it was bumpy but whatever, you know what I mean).

About an hour and a half after we left Hohoe, we pulled into the station at Ho. I exited the vehicle and was immediately bombarded with people trying to get me into their tro tro or sell me bread, pure water, dvds, plantain chips, watches, and everything else possible. I walked to the front of the station and called John, the father of my adopted Ghanaian family. I told him that I was at the station and he told me that he was sending Peace to come and pick me up. I thanked him, took the time to buy some credits for my phone, and stood around waiting for Peace to arrive. I waited and waited and waited. I tried calling John back but his phone said that it was ‘either switched off or out of network coverage area.’ Okay. So I called Dela. I got the same message when I called Dela’s phone. Okay. Well, Dela had given me another number to use for them as well so I tried calling that number. Someone picked up! But that person spoke very little English. And then they hung up. I was pretty sure that it was Annie, John’s wife. So I called back and we had a conversation similar to the first one which got me nowhere. When I called another time, the person, whom I thought was Annie, told me that I had the wrong number. I was confused and tried calling John and Dela’s phones again but got the same message. I then remembered that I had Forgive’s husband’s phone number. I knew the Forgive and him were having issues but I had been stranded at the station for nearly half an hour and was unable to get in touch with the family any other way. So I called Bless, only to find out that he was in Accra, the capital city. I explained to him that I was at the station in Ho and had been waiting for quite awhile for Peace to come and pick me up. I asked him if he could please try calling them and find out where Peace was. Of course, right after I made this call, I got an incoming call from John. He told me that Peace was on her way and should be arriving at the station for me shortly.

She finally showed up and I couldn’t be happier to see her. During my time waiting, while I was not on the phone, I had been approached by a taxi driver who drove up very close to where I was standing and starting talking to me. He had a passenger in the back seat, yet he stopped to tell me that he loved me and wanted to marry me. Yea, yea, yea. This again. Without even knowing my name, he asked for my phone number. I told him that I would not give him my number but that he could give me his number. He didn’t like this as he probably knew that I would never call him. He started begging for my number but I stood on my ground and told him no. He eventually gave in and gave me his number. I didn’t even have a name to save the number with in my phone but I typed the number as he told it to me and then after he finally drove away, I closed my phone, thus deleting the unsaved number.

Now, let me tell you that this is not as mean as it may seem. I have learned the hard way that giving my number to people in Ghana that I do not know and I think will never call me is not a good idea because they will call me and they will call me and call me and call me until I finally pick up. And although this little game may sound like fun, it honestly is not.

So back to the story. Peace and I took a taxi to her village. We were dropped off in front of a funeral celebration which was packed with people. Everyone turned to look at the white girl arriving in their village. This is a very small village and I do not think that they get white visitors very often. Or at all. Well, except for me.

We walked to their house where I was warmly greeted by my family and all the other visitors who were sitting outside in their compound. I was so happy to see them all again. Peace who had insisted on carrying my backpack took the rest of my belongings and put them in the house.

Upon Peace’s arrival at the tro tro station to pick me up, I had noticed that she was wearing one of the shirts I had brought for her and given to her during my visit a few weeks earlier. Upon arriving at the house, I noticed that Godsway was wearing the jersey I had given to him last summer and Richmond was wearing an outfit I had brought for him a few weeks earlier. It made me feel good to know that they were wearing and enjoying the clothing that I had brought for them. In addition, they had their laundry hanging in one lines in the middle of the compound and I spotted quite a few pieces of clothing hanging to dry that I had also brought for them.

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