I had a few things to take care of here, and then Mr. Dima was to come pick me up at 11 am. I know he and his wife have both been dealing with the effects of typhoid fever, so it wasn’t a total surprise when he called me shortly before he was to come saying that she had to go back to the hospital for another check, so he couldn’t make it at that time. I completely understand, and told him to take whatever time he needed.
He was able to make it over shortly after noon. He had intended to take me to his apartment (he has moved since I was last here, and I’ve not seen his new place), But he had taken his car to the “fitter” (what they typically call a mechanic), because something had broken. We were able to talk for nearly two hours as I caught up on what has happened in the area, and we discussed some of the local needs and other matters I needed to be aware of. When his wife called and said she was done with the tests and needed to go home, he left to go get her. We should be able to meet again tomorrow.
I’m scheduled to go to Takoradi to give the Bible study there tonight. Mr. Dima can’t drive me because of his car and his health. Mr. Eshun Plange, our pastor in Takoradi,also has a car. But as it turns out it is also with a “fitter”.
Needing to find a ride, I contacted Edward Sake, the man who drove me down from Accra, and he has a driver who can take me down this evening So I arranged a time for him to pick me up and we settled on a price. I was able to do a couple more things before it was time to leave. Takoradi is about 50 km down the coast to the west, and the drive normally will take around an hour.
Bible studies are normally at 7 pm, and not being told anything different that’s what I planned for. But shortly after we got on the road Mr. Plange called to tell me everyone was at the hall and waiting! It seems that he decided with my long drive, and the distance some of the brethren would travel to come and hear me tonight, we should have the study beginning at 5:30 pm.
They have been able to secure a new meeting hall since the last time I was here, and I don’t know where it is. So Mr. Plange and another member met us at a police barricade near the edge of town, and we were able to follow them on to the hall.
It was dark by the time we arrived, and as I got out of the car I dropped my phone and was unable to find it. We looked and finally saw it where it had somehow bounced a little under the edge of the car near the front tire. It was by virtue of that search that we discovered the front tire was just about completely flat, sitting on the rim!! God protected us so we arrived safely, but we weren’t going anyplace further on that tire! The driver would take care of changing it while I conducted the study.
There were 65 happy members waiting patiently for me in the meeting room! Since delays, often long delays, are so common because of road conditions, failures on car parts, terrible traffic (or in this case the guest speaker not being told of a change of time) the Ghanaian people are very patient. They simply waited patiently for me to arrive! After a greatly abbreviated introduction – including an apology for being so late – I gave the same study as last night, and got a similarly positive response from the brethren. We enjoyed a bit of good conversation afterwards, and then everyone departed for their homes.
I returned to the car and found the driver had changed the flat tire for the “donut” spare. Unfortunately it is not fully aired up either, but its better than the flat one! I figure the driver knows what is best and how best to proceed, so having no other option I got in the car and we started back the 50 or so km back to my hotel in Elmina.
Most of the time I will not travel the highways between towns after dark. There are isolated areas where highway robbers will set up roadblocks after dark to stop and rob vehicles. Also there is a danger from drunk drivers, overly tired drivers, vehicles who don’t have headlights, or drivers who won’t turn on the lights because it burns a little more gas to run the headlights! But this highway is heavily traveled by lorries (large semi trucks) as well as other vehicles. It would not be possible to block the road and rob people because of so much traffic. And some of those lorries probably couldn’t get stopped for an ad hoc roadblock anyway! There is also a greatly reduced danger of drunks or vehicles without running lights because of how many cars and trucks are out, even at night. So I felt relatively safe and making this particular trip back after dark.
With these lorries you see things we normally wouldn’t in the States. Many of them have the normal two axles under the trailer, but others will have 3 or 4 or even 6 axles under the trailer – plus two sets of drive axles under the back of the tractor and then the front wheels. If all except the front wheels are duals, that’s as many as 34 wheels under one truck! But then nearly everything on the road in Ghana is seriously overloaded, so I suppose the more axles and wheels one can get under such an enormous load the better…
What would normally have been about a one hour drive turned into about an hour and 40 minutes because my driver was going slow and was extra careful to baby that half flat spare tire on the front. That’s OK with me as I’d rather take a long time to get back safe rather than try to push it and have a wreck.One consequence of getting back to the hotel at nearly 10:30pm is the restaurant is now closed. But Mary packed me a few cans of sardines and smoked herring in my suitcase for just such an “emergency.” So I’ll savor a can of that before heading to bed. After a good night’s sleep I’m sure I’ll be ready for breakfast in the morning