Egert writes a blog from Ghana. See what he’s doing there.
Everybody who wishes to participate in a GLEN project must participate in two seminars before starting. One of them took place in Germany, and the other in Czech Republic. During the first seminar, while walking around in the forest, I happened to catch a tick. Later on, I discovered that a had encephalitis 😑. Therefore I had to do a heavy cure of antibiotics, which meant that I could not receive all the vaccines required when going to Ghana. The whole planning of the trip was on stand-by. By the beginning of July, I was cured and started taking vaccines and getting on with the visa.
The trouble with the passport
You can apply for the Ghanaian visa in Berlin, so I payed for my visa (160€) and sent the required documents to Germany. After a week I got a reply: my visa was ready and I should go and collect it from the embassy. As I didn’t have any plans to go to Germany, I was – with no success – trying to get in touch with the embassy, so they would at least send me back my passport. After the third day, I managed to get someone on the phone, but they told me that it was not safe to send a passport via mail and they could not do it. Also, they warned me, that after one week they take no responsibility for my passport. They left me with one hope: someone else could go and get it for me – so much for safety.
With effort, I finally found a friend of a friend, who went to get my passport. As he was an employee of the Estonian Embassy in Berlin, he was very surprised to find out that anybody could go to the embassy and collect someone’s personal document (there is a great danger of human trafficking and identity theft). A big pile of passport on the table – take the one you wish. But on August 2, three days before going, I received my passport with visa. 👍🏼
Two or three days before departure I begun to experience severe stomach pain, which made me think if I still dare to go or it’s something more serious.
I decided that since I have put so much effort into this for the past six months, I will take the risk and just go. On Saturday, 5th of August at 8 a.m I took a plane to Amsterdam and at 8 p.m (local time) I landed in Accra (at 10 p.m Estonian time). Everything went quick at the airport, so instead of two hours, which was the estimate, I got through in 40 minutes. Stepping out of the airport, I was surrounded by a mass of people, all of them waiting for somebody. There was also my tandem partner Joana, waiting for me. Together, we took the local transport tro-tro and went to our hotel.
At the hotel we met two of the other interns, who will work in Accra and our local coordinator Yawo, who took us to Prestea the next day.
My stomach pain troubled me for the whole night in Accra and we were already considering going to the hospital, but finally calling the Estonian GP information number 1220 calmed me down. I was worried that my trip to Ghana would end in one day, but fortunately this didn’t happen.
From Accra, we took the bus to Prestea. We started our trip at 4p.m (actually we were already on the bus at 2p.m, but the bus only starts to move when all of the seats are filled). As it was Sunday, we were lucky enough to hear a sermon on the bus (Ghana and religion requires another blog post). Half way through, someone discovered a bag underneath their seat and opened it, which wasn’t the best idea, since the bag contained rotting fish. This meant that we had to make a stop and ventilate the bus a bit. At 11 p.m we arrived to Prestea, but had no first impression, as it was pitch-dark and we didn’t have a clear understanding of the surroundings. There were just geese and chicken everywhere. I will try to settle in a bit before I start sharing my impressions on our new home and the local goings-on.