It has been an eventful day since we arrived in Accra Ghana just over 24 hours ago. Our flight from Amsterdam was about half full; we think because of fear over Ebola. I initially thought it might have been after the MH17 crash over Ukraine, however on reflection I suspect Ebola is the more likely cause.
On arrival at Accra I thought that my bags had been opened since the red suitcase I was carrying was slightly open along the zip, however I discovered that I had not locked either of the cases I was carrying and I think perhaps I was the culprit who had left the zip open a little. It would appear that nothing has been lost and that everything is in-fact intact.
Our first night was spent in a seedy hotel in a run down (or up and coming, it’s hard to tell which direction places are heading here) sector of the city. We had stopped off at a mall to get some food; fried chicken as it happens, which was very good and very welcome too. Vince and I arose early-ish in the morning. We had initially heard that we would be leaving at 4am however it was now 8am and no sign of Pastor Peter or the two lads. We prayed about the day that God would look after us and that he would use us for his purposes however the day went. We had no idea what was to lie before us, however after 25 years travelling in Africa I have learned one thing and that is…expect anything. We went out into the street to grab a packet of biscuits and some soda for breakfast since it was apparent nothing was planned for this most important meal of the day. When we came back in we munched the biscuits in order that we could take our meds (malaria tabs and I am taking Meloxocam for a sore back) and soon after the bus driver, a young lad with broken English and just as broken teeth, came in with a toilet roll and a bar of blackcurrant soap for each of us. Soon we were on the move. I was to be a long journey, or at least so I was told. Estimates ranging from 14-17 hours driving.
Initially the roads were good and after we had taken on a load of fuel and had exchanged some Sterling into Ghana Cedis (at an exchange rate of around 6:1) we were on our way. Not far out of Accra the roads turned from dual to single carriageway and then to mud and potholes. The rough stretch was relatively short lived and the roads soon became very passable, with only the occasional pothole in the tarmac. Our first port of call was Kumasi, a large thriving university town. We had noticed that the driver was using the gears to brake the bus a lot as we approached some of the mountainous ‘sleeping policemen’ or speed bumps on the road. When we reached Kamasi we discovered that he was nursing a braking problem with the bus and that the vehicle needed to go into the repair shop for a while to deal with this. Vince and I were dispatched to a local restaurant to grab a bite while Pastor Peter, the driver and Dominic, the lad who was travelling with the Pastor, went off to get the vehicle brakes fixed. We drank, we ate, we drank some more Malta and coffee and we played on Facebook and we frittered away the afternoon until dark when at last the guys arrived back with the bus. Over the time we had waited text messages and calls came in from Pastor Peter to let us know the state of play. Encouraging sounds of “we’ll be there soon” and “we are nearly finished” were mere figments of the imagination as the news of their return stretched out. The latest news was that we are going to stay In Kamasi overnight since it is now too late to drive to Bolgatanga, our final destination. However when the vehicle did come we were to find out that indeed we were going to drive through the night to Bolga. This was the crucial decision. Disconcerting comments like “the breaks are nearly fixed” as we headed off into the night were not what we wanted to hear, but putting our trust in the Pastor we reluctantly agreed with the decision to go. All went well for a while but soon the bus was in no condition to continue so we stopped and parked up for the night with Tamale still some 3 or 4 hours away. Stopping meant that we could see what transpired in the morning. The sore back that I have been nursing for the last few days is certainly not much improved as a result of the bumpy roads. Our prayers this morning with that of the many people who have promised to pray for us back home, have been answered so far. Please keep praying because we have seen lots of accidents some serious, some not so as we have travelled.
We are now billeted in a fairly decent wee motel, although my room only has a light in the bathroom, where we can get a decent nights sleep and try to put the events of today behind us.