A Travellerspoint blog

White Knuckle ride from Kumasi!!

RISK ASSESSMENTS..............

storm 37 °C

We are now back in Kronkobite ... we loved the luxury the hotel in Kumasi afforded us but the dosh has to last through to South Afica so we checked out....

The principle of the hospital, (Christian) promised us a ride back to the Accra region which we accepted and he then proceeded to call us at hourly intervals changing his mind back and forth ...

from Christian a phone call 1-"By all means I will be there at 5am"
from Christian a phone call 2- "it is difficult I will be there at 7 to pick you up"

from Christian a phone call 3- "I cannot come at all it is inconvienient - "by this stage it was too late to organise state transport - we tried our best to fling clothes on and battle through the close humid eveing air of Kumasi.to the coach station. but it was shut so we had a TOM/ LESLEY conference ..(.-held daily.).. and decided sod it -we'll hire a taxi at least we will have no changes....we organised a taxi with a good looking ghanain driver called DANIEL - negotiated a good price which we actually couldnt afford ..of 105 cedies - about £55... for a 4.5 hr journey..

Daniel assured us he knew Krokobite well ... more later...

Then we recieved ,, yes you guessed it.. a further phone call from Christian informing us he could take us.. "I can now take you ."..Tom rightly said ..Mum he will let us down so we refused and stuck by our new arrangment. Christian is not used to no.. so we had to put the phone to voice mail.

Daniel arrived on time we said our goodbyes to the bell boy we had befiended and sped on our way through the Kumasi back roads.. the poverty on the streets is less apparent in the city of Kumasi but thats the surface ..if you peek in the compound houses of the back streets there are still children in rags or even with no clothes and fathers bent over cooking pots. on thier mobile phones.... The infra structure in Kumasi seems more organised than Accra, with Police on each street corner and armed security gaurds outside the main beautifully glazed and airconditioned banks, where suited and booted clerks sit by thier laptops studing the markets ...Im digressing....back to the Journey

By 3pm the heavens opened ... we were making little headway on the road and I reminded Daniel that we wanted to see the world cup ...at the speeds he selected no one was going to see anything at all... he took the hint and slowed doown temporarily.. then the roads in most places turned to mud baths.. and traffic, mostly lorries that look liked they had been preserved since the 1920's stuffed full of cattle , onions and tomatoes and people were over taken by said boy racer on blind bends .. workmen were precaruiously perched on top .. in fact balancing and bumping like jumping beans ...with no protection.against the monsoon

Daniel started to get frustated by 4.30 we should have arrived and we were still in the ashanti region and stuck behind traffic.. he changed tone and became quite aggesssive with myself and Tom...I did a risk assessment .. best to shut up about his Boy racing style.... we had no idea where we were...and it was getting Dark.. As Ghana is on the equator .. there is a short dusk than complete darkness...

By 7 pm we were still battling the roads and traffic had reached a standtill - Daniels temper was weraing thin and he upped his price by a nother £25.00... we had no choice...

He then turned off the main mud bath swapping it for side streets in a village..Now I felt truly vulnerable we were at least 2 hours away from Krokobite..

When we eventualy, at 9pm, reached accra we counted 4 accidents with lorries upturned and tro tro's..which for those of you who dont know are LOCAL MAMMY TRUCKS packed wit people and TIED WITH STRING ..ok not quite ..but they are antient veichles .. I was told that all got out alive .. but didnt believe it.

By 10pm ..( yes we had been traveling for 9 hrs.. ) Daniiel was clearly lost he picked up a total stranger and demaned that he tell us the way ..I was out of vulnerability zone- and just plain mad by this stage .. my new risk assessment told me that the best thing was to get out and be put on the side of the road with all luggage under some bright lights ....I would call our friends in Krokobite to rescue us..and to cut a long story they did....Felix our taxi driver in krokobite who was off duty and stoned on hash .. came in a friends car with various door handles missing and dodgy gear stick and no seatbelts ....to collect us in the monsoon rain without hesitation .. Tom ran to Felix hugged him for a good 5 mins ..in fact we both did.. (need to point out Felix was not driving ..relax Mum)

Later on Tom and I discussed the journey under the saftey of our mossie nets all freash and showered with the sea breeze and sound of the waves breaking the silence.. I asked if he was frightened by the journey... " Mum it was an adventure..if we can do that we can do anything!" what a boy..

Posted by WAKEFIELDS 03:34 Archived in Ghana Comments (0)

Toms blog from Kumasi

leaving today ...

semi-overcast 33 °C

We are stying at a hotel they have nice breakfasts and I had co co pops yesterday ... I went tO the kings PALACE yesterday and I learnt some interestng facts about the Ashanti history -
The palace is very grand with lots of Peackocks IN THE GROUNDSand has been left untouched since the King moved into another newer palace in 1979. wE HAD A GUIDE WHO TOLD US ABOUT THE TIME WHEN eNGLAnD WAS IN CHARGE OF Ghana .... we were not very nice to the Ghanians and took away thier special golden stool (but they tricked us!and gave us a tin one ) we also put a lot of people in the ashanti kingdom in prison.

Offnso was awsome ...

we are packing to bo back to Big Millies - looking forward to the world cup
- Everyone in Ghana thinks they will win.

Posted by WAKEFIELDS 01:17 Archived in Ghana Comments (0)

In Kumasi

Booked into a hotel for 2 nights in needs of papmering and a soft bed

sunny 39 °C

We are in Kumasi now have been on the road for a while and needed some western comforts.. not least because I have unexplained blood shot eyes.. painless but blood shot... the roads have been very dusty Im guessing that is the reason ... the hotel has a swimming pool .. which is great but is extortionate far more than we would pay in the uk... We are catching up with UK news as we gave our radio away to someone in Offinso last week...
what has The Duchess of York been up to?? !!
Have been to the cultural center which was interesting but for a large space had little in it .. we heard tales of a golden stool coming from the skies .... Tom said " ..Yeah right!!" didn't go down too well .. seems the stool did fall from the sky ... hmmm
Tomorrow we are going to the ashanti kings palace and then packing again .. The hospital priniciple from Offinso is collecting us at 5 am on Friday to give us a lift in his air con wagon to Accra.... he actually gave us a lift here and although kind ..it was an Alton Towers experience reaching max speeds .. Tom thought is was the best thing ever ... !

Posted by WAKEFIELDS 11:51 Archived in Ghana Comments (5)

contrasting experinces in Offinso

meeting old friends and makin new ones

sunny 6 °C

We are still in Offinso- and tomorrow move to Kumasi visit the cultural centre and the kings palace.

Tom has had wonderful experiences in Offinso - i.e being taken under the wing of the local chiefs- to being measured for african clothes to making lots of new friends his own age and being mothered by my old students who have aged somewhat since I last taught them!

I have had the bizzare experience of seeing old friends whose faces have been frozen in time in my pictures in albums the UK- its an emotional rollercoaster..Hannah who was an impish 8 yr old when I was here and lived nearby has had a tough time since her mum died when she was young..she has worked so hard at school and is now a nurse practicioner she's plannig to get married and is now a beauitiful young woman with the same impish sense of humour .. see photos ...

I have handed over the money to the hospital that we raised and they have chosen to spend it on mosquito netting and and a paupers fund.. we have seen some heart rendering sights here in Offinso the Poverty is everywhere you look but there are incongorous contrasts with most people having mobile phones ...
So picture this repetative scene... mud brick houses rendered and painted either vodaphone red - or MTN yellow or Zain purple.. these being multi- international communication companies that pay a pittance for advertising .. inside each compound house that has been in families for generations small children roam in rags ... but the mothers manage to turn them out in pristine yellow and brown uniforms for school (if it can be afforded)

We have spent a bit of time on the wards and seen some great things .. there are now women ghanain doctors .. when i WAS HERE THERE WERE X 2 DOCTORS NOW THERE ARE 6! the anesthetics are still led by nurses who are highly trained ..

As I was being shown around by my x student Emma (one of the faces frozen in time and now very old) we came accross a woman on a matress WHO had a fit in pregnancy.. she had been shipped in from an outlying district and it was clear she was drawing her last breath... unnoticed by the busy nurses... It was horrific .. I tried to shield Tom from this but he knoew what was going on.. nothing could be done 4 this poor lady and her baby and she died.. so the flip side of improved child mortlaity..( far less malnutrition ) is that maternal mortality is still high ... something both Caroline and myself couldn't come to terms with when we were here and it brought back some sad memories..(caroline was a volunteer from CANADA) - The point is that this woman and her baby would have survived in the UK...

The driver of the midwifery school when I was here in the 80;s is still around and is the kindest man I have ever met, we have been so lucky to have so many people looking out for us and have felt happy secure and safe in Offinso we will be sad to leave tomorrow.
LESLEY WAKEFIELD

Posted by WAKEFIELDS 11:20 Archived in Ghana Comments (0)

Toms blog

meeting the chiefs

sunny 4 °C

Blog From Tom

Today I have eaten ghanaian dish called Fu fu which I helped to pound- i ALSO MET X 2 chiefs in the village and they took us to a funeral which is a celebration of life .

A couple of days ago I went to the local school and gave out all the footballs I had saved up for -it was crazy .. the schools are not like ours they have no windows and most kids have to sit on the floor - they had no toilet either and have to go in the bushes.

They all wanted my shoes and watch but the captian of the football team looked after me ..

We have given the hospital the moneY we raised and the baby scales and other things mum shipped out - we have been on the wards and the nurses were nice but there were some very sick people Mum helped with one of them. ..

It is so so Hot we are having to keep drinking ..

The whole of GHANA IS TALKING ABOUT THE WORLD CUP!
message for BLAIZE- Cosmic boy is so so good nearly finished it thanks.

Tom

LESLEY WAKEFIELD

Posted by WAKEFIELDS 16:09 Archived in Ghana Comments (1)

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