From Accra to Durham

We’re back at home. After 3 weeks in Ghana and Togo, we undertook the last leg of our trip on Friday – from Accra via New York back home to Durham. The guy who’d rented us his Bimmer came to pick us up at 6 AM and took us to Kotoka Int’l Airport. Like so many official procedures in West Africa, the check-in process is an elaborate, confusing dance whereby one moves to and fro, hither and yond, from one official to another, until all baggage has been searched sufficiently and chalked with mysterious hieroglyphs, all passports have been marked adequately, and double-checked, and the traveler is properly weary and a bit dizzy. On to Ghana Immigration.

Oh – and did I mention we were also going to bring the five-year-old son of a friend along? The boy was born in the US to Ghanaian parents and had been living with his Grandparents in Ghana since he was 9 months old. His parents are good friends of ours and so we agreed to do this (on fairly short notice). Thursday Laura discussed this with the airline and with the US Embassy in Accra, and we were really concerned about how we were going to be able to get the kid through Ghana Immigration (although he has a US passport). Very rightfully, Ghana Immigration is very strict when it comes to children leaving the country, because child trafficking is a huge problem in West Africa. Thank god, the kid’s family took care of this process and a relative escorted the child through immigration and handed us all the required letters and affidavits.

As much of a drag this entire procedure is, I must say that the folks at the airport were all quite nice and helpful. In fact, when they discovered that I had forgotten to remove Laura’s Leatherman tool from the bag I was using as a carry-on, they pulled one of our checked bags back out, and allowed me to put it into the checked bag. That was actually really good customer service!

The flight was – well – long. Eleven hours on a plane with a squirmy, excited energy bundle of a 5-year-old who has to pee every 30 Minutes and doesn’t quite know how to use the toilet. That’s a long time. However, he was also very cute, and his excitement was certainly understandable. The funniest thing was when in the beginning he kept trying to throw trash out the window :)

The connecting flight from JFK to RDU was late, and so we did not get to Durham until almost midnight, where the boy was greeted by his very happy parents. A friend picked us up and drove us home, which was great! Saturday we upacked, did laundry and sorted our souvenirs. And napped. Tomorrow it’s back to school and work. Akwaaba back home.

One Response to “From Accra to Durham”

  1. Agbessi Says:

    nice!! welcome back you and me!