Getting to two weeks now I have asked myself whether to write about my visit to Ghana or not. It was one of the most relaxing and pleasurable weekends I have had. But that doesn’t mean there wasn’t much to write about. In fact, the plane ride to Accra itself was interesting that I wrote about it. My hesitation is that I felt there was more to be written about had I more time. So I plan a second visit to Ghana InShaAllah!
I enjoy travelling to new places but the biggest obstacle I have is applying for Visa. Let us just say I hate that. I would forfiet many travel opportunities if it requires me to apply for Visa, especially the tough ones. Thanks to ECOWAS, perhaps the only benefit of ECOWAS to me, I don’t need a visa to go into Ghana.
This was my first time in Ghana, Accra. After an interesting flight that left me a little drained and disappointed, I assumed I wouldn’t be amused by Accra until the following day; after all it was dark when we landed. How wrong I was. Either I underestimated the points of interest in Accra or overestimated my sadness. I got a good wake up call at the airport, may be that was what got my senses alert.
“Can I see your Yellow Card?” I heard one of the airport officials ask one of the passengers from my flight. Yellow WHAT?! This is not South Africa is it? I knew there was a debacle between Nigeria and South Africa concerning yellow cards (which are proofs of vaccination for yellow fever) used by Nigerians, even though I didn’t know the details at the time… that was an embarrassing moment for Nigeria. Anyway, why is Ghana asking me for Yellow Card? I didn’t even need a Visa to come here… why on earth are they asking me for the more obscure Yellow Card? Apparently Ghana takes the issue of Yellow Card seriously; I suspected it is a special treatment for Nigerians. What I know about other countries like Malaysia is that if you are missing a Yellow Card, you get quarantined in the airport for a few days before you are allowed to proceed. That would not have been an issue but I was in Accra only for the weekend! Do I return to Nigeria simply after being quarantined in Accra Airport? How was I to proceed? Would I ever see Accra? At this point let us just say something of God’s intervention saved me. I actually went through without showing a Yellow Card. How it happened? How dare you ask about God’s intervention?!
I was out, unscathed, luggage safely in the car, and on my way to my destination. The radio station in the car was discussing Serbs and the Bosnian war. Ghanaians must have too little on their plates to be dedicating air time on local radio for such international events. It had to be a local radio because it was crystal clear, which means it must have been an FM station. The radio host is undoubtedly British, sounding like one of those BBC presenters. I bet he even worked with the BBC in the past. Even the guests were British. Or do Ghanaians speak British English? We have been taught in primary school that Ghanaians have a good command of English Language; this is probably what they meant. So I asked the driver what station that was and he said it is BBC. BBC in Ghana?! Nigerians too listen to BBC services but it is on AM radio and not half as clear as this. What secrets to Ghanaians know that Nigerians don’t? I found out that BBC has a local FM station in Accra. That is interesting. I wondered at how welcoming the socio-political climate of Ghana is to be attractive to the BBC. Would the BBC, or rather did the BBC, try to put up a station in Nigeria; the most populous African Country?
There was also sanity in the driving. It was difficult to place a finger at what, but there was sanity in the driving. For starters, it didn’t feel like anyone was trying to overtake another. Could it be that sanity was incorporated in the design of the roads, or is the average Ghanaian driver thinking differently from their Nigerian counterparts? Ghana drivers actually have options on the size of plate numbers they fix on their cars. There are two sizes; the rectangular and the square-looking ones for smaller cars. Does Ghana road authority care about the little man who can only afford a little car? At least owners of little cars know they can have plate numbers that fit their cars. Even if you can’t afford a good quality jeans, there is nothing better than jeans that fit just right!
The billboards on the roadside seemed more organized than Nigeria’s. I bet there is a management authority regulating the how it is erected. I couldn’t help but notice how clean the roads were. Clean Clean Clean… I shall come back to this issue in the future. Another interesting thing was that I did not come across a single Mosque on the road as I move to my destination. Understandably Muslims are not majority in Accra. However it took us 15 minutes of driving before coming across a billboard for a Church! No way that is possible in Nigeria. And it seems that church (after later discussions), the one with a billboard and grandiose facade, is set up by Nigerians. I reserve my comment on whether that is a positive thing (relating religions with grandiosity) or not, but Nigerians sure know how to place their marks.
It is convenient that where street lights were absent on major roads, there were reflectors on the ground to guide you. How thoughtful. The drive continued until we reached our destination. A little tired. So was my trip from the airport. If I make another post on this trip, I shall do less writing and more photos.