Ghana Trip Day 1

I’m finally ready to start sharing about my trip to Ghana. I had waited so that I didn’t have to worry about accidentally spilling the beans and then, once everyone knew we are adopting Coen, I was just to busy! So, here is day #1 (FYI: I’m no sparing any details here)

The last 33 hours have been the weirdest of my life. Sure, it has a lot to do with the fact that I did not sleep 1 single hour in that time and that I’m in Ghana, but the weirdest by far.

When I arrived at the airport in Accra, it was just surreal. I couldn’t believe I was actually there. Any moment I was going to see my “son” as Kofi refers to him. I made it through baggage and customs and as I turned the corner I saw Kofi in his lime green and white striped shirt and black pinstriped pants. My eyes immediately shifted to the ground behind him where a tiny little thing was toddling, trying to hold on to the chair of the seat his “mama” was in.

I almost lost it right there, but I just smiled big and gave Kofi a hug before rushing to him and bending down to his level. I honestly can’t remember what I said – something like “hey there. Oh my goodness, oh my goodness”. He in return, immediately shied away from me. I jump up and grabbed the stuffed animal from my backpack and gave it to him. He threw it on the floor. His foster mom beamed at me and tried to encourage him to see his “mama”, but he was not buying it. No biggy. I expected this and I was still overjoyed.

His foster mom picked him and with a huge smile (you could tell she was overcome with joy for me as well) and we headed to the car. The heat was ridiculous. Heat is heat yes, but this is WET heat. The kind you cannot get away from and with the air conditioning barely working, it was honestly like sitting in a sauna. I got used to this and by the end of the day hardly noticed the wetness all over my body as I sat in the car holding a fast asleep baby (not mine). I did notice the wetness on my lap when I moved him, which had me wondering…. but I wasn’t phased one way or another. By about 1 pm I was the filthiest I have ever been from just sitting around that a little baby pee didn’t have any effect.

So, from the airport we picked up foster mom #2 and her 7 months old baby boy and headed to her court date. Court was nothing like I pictured it. The government building didn’t really differ from all other buildings. The entire thing looked like it might just fall down any minute. We sat and sat for I believe about 1 ½ – 2 hours. Finally, Kofi let us know that the lawyer wouldn’t make it today and we should head out.

We piled back into the car with 2 already tired babies and headed to get Kwasi his medical exam. He had barely fallen asleep when we arrived. We quickly exchange my money and went next door to get his blood work done. This was the most painful thing I’ve had to watch. Carter has never reacted the way this little guy did and it just killed me when he looked at me. All I could think was “Great, this is what he will think of when he sees me from now on”.

At this point, the lawyer called and said he ready for court so, we sit in traffic for about ½ hour to go about ½ mile and arrive back at court. ½ hour later, the sweet 7 month old baby legally belonged to someone. Kofi decided that we should try to get my court date scheduled for the following day so, we headed to social welfare and after ½ hour of photocopying my paperwork, we headed up to an office shared by 4 people (3 women) all yelling about something. I have NO CLUE what. Kofi sat patiently and was told that we did not have my home study with us. We then wasted about an hour and half looking for it and trying to get a hold of the lawyer to see if he had it.

So… It’s about 1:30. I’ve had nothing to eat all day. We decide it is time to get the boys home as they have fallen asleep again, but instead, we went to lunch. Luckily, they both slept the entire time tied to the back of their foster mom.

Back in the car again, this time for our 3 ½ hour ride to Kwahu. A few things to note, most roads are dirt road, paved roads are often worse than dirt roads because they have huge pot holes. We dropped Kwasi and his foster mom as well as the other foster mom and her baby near their village for them to take public transportation the rest of the way. Their village was too far out of the way (an additional hour) from where we needed to go and Kofi felt it was getting too late.

The rest of the ride was long, but I enjoyed it. I was able to ask Kofi about anything and everything Ghana, CompAfriCare/UjimaCare and he even shared his life story with me. Wow. What an amazing life he has lived. It started when he was orphaned at just 6 months and today here he is building an orphanage and finding families for children in need. I’ll leave the in-between bits for him to share as it is his story.

So here comes the distributing part of the day, the week, hopefully of my life. Along with the horrible roads, there seem to be no rules concerning driving here. Cars fly by one another and serious speeds and weave in and out of traffic. At the same time, there are people everywhere walking along the edge of the street carrying huge items on their head for sale: bowls full of ice and bottled water, fire wood, you name it. We were sitting at a standstill behind a large bus when out of the corners of our eyes both Kofi and I saw a car FLY by and then heard a sound and saw a large spray of water. Like, a bucket full of water flying through the air. We both turned to look. I will thank God every day until the day that I die that I was in the passenger seat and unable to see anything and had missed seeing exactly what happened.

Kofi turned and said in a tone that was disgusted mixed with sadness, mixed with horror, “He hit her. He hit her and she is dead.” I almost vomited right then. The crowds started running over and the screaming started. Screams of sheer terror. I sat in my seat paralyzed by the shock and still trying not to throw up. I asked Kofi what we do, what they do here. The bus ahead of us started to move so, he shifted and we started to follow. He said that they will come take the body. That would be that. I could tell he was just as disturbed as I was and as a taxi flew by in the other lane going the wrong direction he added, “there it goes now, we don’t have ambulances.”

We continued on and I passed on the option to stop for dinner. We did however stop by the children’s home which was a good attempt at brightening the moment. The children screamed and ran to car as we pulled up yelling for Kofi and then switching to “Obruni” when they saw me. I’m not sure what it means, but I know it is a common name for us “whities”. We didn’t stay long before heading to my hotel.

My 50 GHC got me a private room and bathroom. The bed had no liens and when I requested some, there was much discussion about what it was that I wanted. They finally brought in a blanket and 2 towels. There was a TV and air conditioning, but the electricity was out most of the time I was there. When there was water for a shower, it was ICE COLD. I learned the 2nd day that this was much better than absolutely no running water. I just had to remember to keep my mouth shut no matter how cold it was!

To be continued….

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Comments

  1. ((((hugs))))

  2. We forget how primitive some countries can be. Where would anyone go to be in such a hurry. Looking forward to hearing more of your experiences.

  3. Makes one glad and thankful when coming home. I will also be thankful when we go back to Bulgaria as it doesn't seem so primitive now 😉 Sending prayers up that your wait is not long.

  4. That must have been quite a culture shock and then the accident on top of that!!! I can't imagine how you must have felt then. Thank you for your detailed account of your trip, now preparing myself for our trips…..

  5. Wow – what an "adventure"…something like this makes one remember how good we really have it – despite it all.

    Blessings for you and your new munchkin during the remainder of your trip. ~N

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