Tuesday, April 26, 2011

"Distract Yourself": The Return to Saboba

Deep sigh.
I did it. I made it back to Saboba, alive and in one piece. Epic adventure complete. I have searched the English language, and I simply cannot find a word more fitting, so over-users of the word epic, stop for the duration of this entry, because right now, that is my word.
I had to be up at 3:30 this morning and be at the bus station by 4. I have never in my life seen such mass chaos at such an early hour. That was the most disorganized group of humans I have ever seen in my life. This particular bus line is how do I say it, DEAD LAST, in comfort and quality of transit lines, but it was the only one that left early enough so I could have a chance to Saboba in one day. I am not above a new experience, so I thought I’d just add this one to the list. It was hot, crowded, sticky and loud ALL day. It took 6 hours from Kumasi to Tamale. The Young’s friend, Big Man, is the MAN and is a master networker. He has a friend that works in Tamale at this bus company that personally came to see that I was taken care of and found my bus to Yendi. I am so well taken care of here, and I am so grateful. Bob was coming to meet me in Yendi and take me the other half of the way to Saboba, so I only had an hour and a half in a bus. That is nothing right? Well, when there are three people in a seat, people standing in the isles with suitcases, plaintains, and nasty fish in your face, it suddenly became light-years. But I had to stay strong. No time for sickness or a heat stroke. An hour and a half. That’s a short basketball practice… I can do anything for that long! I found myself singing to the song “Express Yourself” and making up my own versioin. “Distract Yourself! What ever you do… don’t freak out!”  It worked, so you can totally borrow it sometime.
Every good story has a beginning, so it is only fair I start there back on the 13th. I actually wrote an entry in Accra, but forgot to post it, so I am going summarize and continue onto the good stuff. However, this story is going to come over a few days because there is so much to tell.
 Kristi and I had a great time in Tamale. We had Austrian neighbors, a 4 hour nap in a cool room. So nice! We met Zee for dinner to celebrate her birthday at a really great restaurant with a lovely, dimly lit patio AND THE WORLD’S SLOWEST KITCHEN!! You want to see nice girls get angry? Make them hungry. It was worth the wait though. That pizza was so delicious. Gosh I miss cheese.
My 12 hour bus ride from Tamale to Accra was a total success, and I had a blast.  I could not have asked for a better way to see the country than to drive on all the bad roads right through the heart of it. I did sleep for maybe an hour and read about 10 pages, but the rest of the time, my eyes were glued to the beauty of Ghana outside my window.
Before I left, my Aunt Dena reminded me from a rather traumatic experience she had traveling and warned me I might have to pay for toilet paper or I could get chased down. WELL, turns out that the same thing nearly happened to me. That was the nastiest bathroom I have ever been in my life and they followed me in there to collect their money. It was nearly terrifying, yet really funny. Don't you worry, I have a picture of the toilet as proof of what I was up against.
I met this guy, a very nicely dressed gentlemen, who claimed to member of the royal family of the Dagomba tribe from Yendi which is the fairly close to Saboba. Right on... you and everyone else! He was very kind to me and was the reason I ended up in the right place! I was trying to tell Henry, my awesome driver friend in Accra where I was... I had no clue. I just know I am in Ghana and am back to the clueless American girl I was two months ago. I finally just handed my royal escort the phone, told him to talk to Henry and tell him what he needed to know  and then tell me what I was supposed to do. They spoke and laughed in Twi, hung up, and he filled me in. I was good to go. Then I realized, there were THREE stops the bus made when we got to Accra. Oh dear. The really nice, Ghanaian lady next to me (who picked up on the clueless vibes early on) was trying to figure out what station I needed to stop at. We passed the first one- well, not that one. I just assumed because Henry didn't say anything it was the last one. I had just finished declaring this, rather assertively to her and the two German girls I had been chatting with on the way, that I would be getting off at the last station. Not two seconds later, our royal highness runs back to me as the bus pulls in to the second station and says this is where I am suppose to get off. We all started laughing. He grabbed my backpack (let's not overlook this- a back pack. That is singular. BIG DEAL) and we headed off the bus where his Ghana smarts led him to Henry, a man he had only talked to on the phone. They exchanged some words and shook hands and off we went. Thank GOD for my suave, royal friend!
Kristi and I had to say our goodbyes. It was so good to see her when I arrived at the guest house in Accra. This is the longest we had been separated for a month! She greeted me with a hug and the true gesture of love and friendship, a typhoid-free piece of fruit, an orange to be exact. I didn’t even wash my hands off afterwards just so I could smell it on my hands… desperate times call for desperate measures here people. We shared a room on purpose and said our goodbyes. I was so thankful she was here for me even though she had a rather um, unpleasant sickness! Miss you Kris!
Henry, driver extraordinaire, picked me up the next morning and sent me off to Ho Hoe via tro. Ghana vocab word: a tro is a ghetto fabulous beater van that is occasionally made before 1980 and air-conditioned. They are the vehicular equivalent of Mary Poppins’ bag. You would NEVER guess looking at the size that so many people, goats, kitchen sinks… you name it can fit in one of those things. The marvels of the tro will be discussed many more times as this story unfolds.
It was such a relief when I met up with Chris and his friend Mike in Ho Hoe. Finally, someone who knows what is going on! We had lunch and then from there we went to a monkey sanctuary outside a little village called Tafi Atome. We jumped into another tro for a bit, were dropped off on the side of the road and jumped on to three motorcycles like we were secret agents and the drivers took us into the wild. I had bugs on my teeth when I got off I was smiling so big. Ok not really, but I was totally loving it.
The three of us got off the motos like secret agents do and walked into the forest with a sack of bananas. We didn’t have to hunt at all as there was a group of monkeys  right by the road! Here monkey, monkey. They were fascinating to watch because the one in charge was trying to eat all the bananas and keep all the little ones away, so it was quite comical. There was one crawling down a tree next to me so I held out a banana. It stopped, checked to see if the big one would see, and looked back at the banana. The monkey was in midair before I realized it was actually going to jump on me. Right one my arm! It shoved half the banana in its mouth and scurried up the tree before it got caught. I was thoroughly amused by this and made a game out of it- just how far can the monkey jump? If I hold it here… or out here… It was awesome.
Aunt Deb, I have so many great pics for you!
Alright, more tomorrow. I can hardly see straight I am so tired as my 3:30 morning into a tin can of sardines on wheels is getting to me. Typo apology! My brother Gavin, the finest cadet in the whole Air Force Academy, told me I had to give him all the information of the two guys I was with and notify him of my location at all times just in case he and his posse had to come save me. So let it be known to my dear brother and to all, I am SAFE and SOUND in Saboba. So happy to be back!
Good night!

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