Monday, June 13, 2011

Trip to Ho

On Saturday morning Alex and I woke up early and prepared to travel to the tro tro station. Alex had to travel to Hohoe for a meeting on Sunday morning and since he was traveling, I thought it was a good time for me to travel to Ho and visit my adopted family there. The drive to Ho wasn’t that bad as I had a seat where I could actually somewhat comfortably sleep. On tro tros, it is not uncommon to see sleeping heads bouncing around as head rests are a luxury that do not exist in tro tros. At one point during the drive, we came across a group of Ghanaian soldiers marching in the middle of the road, directly in front of our vehicle. I am used to stopping for goats, dogs, chickens, people (well, usually the drivers don’t actually stop for people, but rather, just continue at the same speed and force the people to run or dash out of the way), other vehicles (sometimes, also depends on the driver), and pot holes (or they just swerve around them and hit the smallest ones), but never before had I been stopped in the road for a group of soldiers.
Upon arriving in Ho, I was met at the station by Derrick, a friend that I know from Hohoe, and taken to the house where I would be spending the night to drop off my stuff. We then proceeded to find me something to eat before taking a taxi to my family’s house.  We found a chop bar where we stopped to eat some rice but we quickly learned that they were sold out. So, off we went, walking down the street, searching for some sign of food but it took awhile before we came across somewhere. We eventually found a chop bar that specializes in serving rice. Derrick ordered me a vegetarian meal but once it came, I knew something wasn’t right as I spotted chunks of meat on the salad. Apparently corn beef is not meat or something crazy like that because the woman just shrugged her shoulders when Derrick returned and asked her why there was corn beef on the plate. Its ironic because as I am writing this, sitting in the house in Ho as breakfast is being prepared, Raymond, who knows that I do not eat meat, came out of the kitchen and asked me if I wanted corn beef. I sure consider corn beef to be meat but maybe they don’t? I ate the rice as it was not topped with the meat and left the salad, hoping that Derrick would come to the rescue and eat it but he claimed that he was not hungry. I felt bad not eating the food but whats a girl to do?
I arrived in the family’s village and walked up to the compound where I was warmly greeted with hugs and the shouting of my name. Melody, Richmond, and a few other children who were in the compound ran up to me and grabbed on to my legs. It was amazing to see Richmond, who was just a newborn when I first met him. He turned three years old this week and boy, can the child talk. Richmond has been anticipating my visit for awhile now as when another white girl came to their village awhile back, he ran up to her calling my name. I spent the afternoon playing with him and Melody and the other children before the exhaustion from traveling hit me. My family set up a bed for me in the middle of the living room and I was instructed to sleep. I was sad to loose time playing with the kids but to say I was beyond tired would be an understatement. After waking up from my nap, I was taken to an open area where men were drumming and community members were dancing. There had been a funeral in the village earlier that day so everyone was still in their funeral clothes and the community was out in numbers.
I decided to just watch the dancing rather than participate as Richmond had already fallen asleep on my shoulder. While holding Richmond, many children gathered about 10 feet away from me and played a little game where they seemed to dare each other to come closer to me. It took awhile but eventually the children came close enough where they could touch my hands and I could tickle them. The older boy sitting next to me threatened the children to leave me alone and they all dispersed…for about a minute before returning. As I was holding my camera, they begged me to take their photographs and proceeded to laugh and smile when I showed them their faces on the camera screen.
I returned to the house that I was spending the night at that evening only to find that the lights were out. In the morning, I returned to my family’s house for a few hours, much to Richmond’s delight. When I had left the previous evening, Richmond was still asleep but when he woke up, he apparently was not very happy to learn that I had left.  After spending a few hours at their house, I departed for the station. Upon arriving at the station, I learned that there was a very long line of people waiting for tro tros to Accra. I had arrived at the station around 2pm to ensure that I would arrive in Accra before it got dark (around 6:30pm) but with this line of people, I quickly realized that I would probably be forced to wait at the station for quite some time. I usually have no problem quickly boarding a tro tro at the Ho station but as there was a graduation at the Polytechnic school in Ho that weekend, it seemed like everyone was at the station, trying to get home. As I waited in line, I tried to contemplate any other options to get to Accra. Much to my surprise, Derrick and his sister showed up at the station and spotted me. Derrick’s sister was also traveling to Accra so they were able to devise a plan in which the sister and I would take a different tro tro about two hours (not to Accra) and then from that station, board a different tro tro to Accra. If Derrick and his sister hadn’t shown up, I have no clue how long I would have been waiting at that station for a tro tro to Accra. The trip took a bit longer due to the stop but we made it to Accra and as it was dark, she helped me find a taxi to my house and went with me to ensure that I arrived home safely. It was a long day and I did not reach home until almost 8pm although the drive from Ho to Accra should only take about 3 hours.  
It was a fun weekend and so nice to be able to see my family as they knew I was in the country and were waiting for me to come and visit them. They took such good care of me and made sure I was always comfortable and that my stomach was always full.
 I took photos but will not be able to put them online until my MacBook is back up and running in about 2.5 weeks. My charger for my Mac has died and I am waiting for a volunteer from the US to arrive and bring me a new one.