This morning before we left the hotel, one of the pastors and his wife came by to talk a little while, and then it was time to finish packing, load up and begin the trip down to Elmina. Reuel Dima and Eshun Plange and I were able to board a minibus that makes this trip. In terms of Ghanaian vehicles, it was relatively comfortable. Every seat was filled, the isle was largely filled with bags and produce, and the rack up on the roof was also loaded and packed. However no live animals were tied up there – something I’ve seen a number of times before!
On previous occasions when I’ve ridden the busses, I’ve watched a “street preacher” or someone stand and pray at the beginning of the trip as we pulled out of the station. Considering the traffic, that’s not a bad plan, and I often pray multiple times along the way! But this time I saw something a little different – a “street preacher” who came on board to give a sermon as we started off.
He gave his message in Twi, so I didn’t really catch most of it. Toward the beginning he made a comment about from Genesis to Revelation, then picked up his Bible and began reading. Over the next 20 minutes or so I became convinced that maybe he intended to read the entire thing from Genesis to Revelation! I was able to catch something about Noah and the ark, and also the Children of Israel in the wilderness for 40 years, but most of the rest I couldn’t decipher. At the end some of the people started sending money up to him, and he asked the driver to let him off at the next roundabout. This is probably the way he earns his living, and he either catches another bus, or gets a taxi back to the bus terminal and does it all over again with another group of passengers.
My seat was directly behind the driver, and as we got started, I realized the little diesel engine was probably a bit underpowered for the size of the vehicle with all the extra weight in passengers and luggage. The driver’s strategy for dealing with that seemed to be to keep the poor thing revved up close to the redline constantly. Glancing forward I realized there is no tach, therefore no redline, but not to worry, he simply kept the motor at a steady high rev whine – for 5 hours! Obviously it has run like this for quite a while, but one has to wonder how much longer that poor motor can take that kind of stress…
The irony of some of the things you see in Ghana never ceases to amaze me. Looking out the window as we went through one of the little towns I noticed a very large sign, perhaps 8 feet square, sitting on a steel post like a street sign post that was at least 10 feet tall. In fact, there were two or three of them, and you can’t miss them. They each said: “Public Notice! No Hawking or Selling Permitted. Violators will be prosecuted”. At the base of each sign the street side merchants were set up all around, leaning some goods against the signpost and even using the iron cross members to hang some of the cloth and clothing they had for sale! I only wish I could have gotten my camera out quickly enough to snap a picture.
As I was chuckling about that, I looked out the other side and was barely able to see a sign painted in bright red letters that read “No Stopping. Parking Prohibited”. I was barely able to see it because of all the cars parked beside, behind and in front of it! All I can do is chuckle and shake my head as we left the other side of town and careened on down the highway swaying to miss some of the potholes, engine whining…
Perhaps my favorite place to stay in Ghana is the Elmina Bay hotel. It is fairly new – about 5 or 6 years old, clean and well maintained, and frankly I’m charged less here than most anything comparable in the area. I’ve stayed here enough that the owner recognizes me, and even foregoes having me fill out all the paperwork normally required. They undoubtedly have multiple copies of all my information in their files. So check-in is smooth, easy and wonderfully relaxing!
For the first time since I arrived in the country on this trip, I have a bit of time this afternoon and evening to catch up on some work I brought with me. Glancing over my shoulder I can look out the sliding glass door and out across to the ocean, with palm trees swaying in the breeze. What a contrast to back home! My wife said it was in the teens at our house this morning, and as I turned on my computer I received an email from a good friend who lives an hour or two from where we used to live in Minnesota, telling me how he has suffered frostbite on several fingers from trying to dig through the snowdrifts in his driveway in temperatures of -10 to -20. I almost hated to share with him what the weather is like over here. Almost hated to…
Tomorrow the three of us will visit three or perhaps even four properties we can consider for building a permanent Feast site. Then we can begin to draw up plans and gather costs and see what we are going to be able to ultimately do.
Then tomorrow evening I hope to have a couple more visits before heading on down the coast to Takoradi for the end of this week. For tonight, I’ll walk down the beach to the Coconut Grove Hotel. It is not as nice a place to stay and much more expensive, but they have a wonderful restaurant. So I’ll walk over for dinner, come back to work a little more and then turn in for the night.
The trip from Kumasi to Elmina
Tuesday, January 28, 2014