yes, i made the trek from benin to togo to ghana yesterday. my good friend, the doctor (she’s ghanaian but working in cotonou as the doc for peace corps volunteers), was good enough to let me tag along in her ailing mercedez. she is headed to a wedding for her niece, who happens to be a model and was once the ghana nominee for miss universe. the groom is a tv personality. so while i initially thought i’d go to the wedding, as african weddings are BIG fetes, i’m now thinking i might just watch it on tv, considering my only friend there will be quite busy with her family!
the drive was interesting. for one, it turns out the doctor was at hopkins in b’more for a bit, at which point she attended grace fellowship church. ah! small world. most of my friends go to gfc, though i only braved the drive out the burbs once every month or so. we had fun reminiscing together. i love b’more.
border stops are also interesting… albeit a hassle. stop at benin border, get visa stamped, stop at togo border, get visa stamped… drive… stop at togo border, get visa stamped, stop at ghana border, get visa stamped. the cumbersome process went pretty smoothly, though, despite the fact my ghana visa looks fake.
the only problem we ran into was well into ghana, on our way to accra. there are police stops everywhere! which could be because the africa cup (soccer) is being hosted here (my students in benin are convinced that’s why i traveled here!) anyway, one guard took my passport and told the doctor he wanted to copy some information from it, and that i was welcome to accompany him (which i wasn’t too eager to do, as the guard beside him kept winking at me). she responded coolly, “that is fine, only, i’m not usually stopped for such formalities, given i have diplomatic plates.” the guard took a few steps back, looked at the license plate sheepishly, and handed back my passport apologizing. score one for the doctor! too bad i’ll be taking the non-diplomatic bus home next week…
not just a whole lot of differences to note between ghana and benin yet. they drive car taxis instead of motor bikes, for one. the biggest difference, though, is they speak english. or some form of english. this is hard for me to get used to, as i’ve now been conditioned to speak french to every african i see (i’ve heard stories of peace corps volunteers switching to french every time they see a black person back home, and now i’m not a bit surprised!) also, no one sings the “yovo” song when i pass by.
i’m hoping to get out and see some sights while i’m here, but the truth is i’m utterly exhausted, and i may just take this time to rest a LOT. we’ll see. i’ll keep you posted.