Sunday, May 5, 2013

Grateful in Ghana

Tonight I am sitting in the beautiful poolside lounge of the Golden Tulip Hotel, my home away from home while in Ghana, the band has just started to play outside, I've got my computer charged, internet access and I am appreciating Normal, Expected, Everything Status Quo.  Normal is Good, Relative but Good. This may be my most uneventful trip to Ghana yet. I am, however, grateful for all of the missed connections, canceled flights, delayed planes, crying babies sitting next to me, customs officers demanding bribes and all of the other things that taught me to prepare for the worst and be grateful when it doesn't happen.. None of these things have happened on this trip and I am so grateful for that.  Nothing special has happened but nothing has gone terribly wrong either. I am grateful for it and grateful for the adversities that have made me appreciate it.  
 
 
On this trip I decided to journal the journey of "Sunshine", the bunny that my neighbor Marin, 8 years old, decided to send to a little girl in Ghana named Mary also 8 years old.
 
 This is Sunshine with Marin at her home outside of Washington, DC. Tomorrow, I plan to take pictures of Mary with Sunshine in her home outside of the capitol of Ghana.
 
 
 

 This is Sunshine in the Dulles International Airport sitting on my carry on bag. (which later got Gate Checked for being "too fat for carry on", really?) The huge bags on the cart are the donations. I am so grateful to Lufthansa for letting me take the third bag for free. If not, the nice lady you see in the background, on the phone, a judge from Nigeria, offered to pay the $200 bag fee. There are kind people everywhere who love what I am doing.
 
 
 
Anticipating all sort of unanticipated problems, Sunshine and I arrived early with plenty of time to buy a new book and have a leisurely lunch at Chipotle before boarding our first flight, which left on time, unbelievable.
 
 
 
The 8 hours to Frankfurt went by quickly, Sunshine took a nap while I caught up on a few movies and started my new book.



With 9 hours to kill before our next flight, we had breakfast at our favorite spot in the Frankfurt airport.........found our gate with 7 hours to spare.....went for a walk .......shopped......walked.....shopped....read..... walked and even had time to paint and write.

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Another non eventful, "Normal", 6 1/2 hour flight to Accra; we napped, watched movies and Viola, we were in Ghana. Walking down the steps of the plane I was immediately warmed up, sauna style, from the chill I had felt in the Frankfurt airport, my sweater was under the plane in my "non-carry on".
 
Once we arrived I was prepared for anything: I had rolled up small bills of Ghanaian Cedi in my pocket for quick access for tips and/or bribes, I had Billa's number on speed dial with my Ghanaian phone charged and had learn a few necessary words of Twi, Dabi Dabi = No, No. None of this was needed, except one tip to a nice porter who took all of my bags out the door to Billa who was there waiting for me! Life is good, very, very good and "Normal'.

 
Billa and his friends even posed with Sunshine.
 
 
 The airport parking lot is not paved and Billa and the guys had to keep lifting the cart over each concrete divider while trying not to spill the bags.
 
 
 
We filled the back of the Trotro(African term for that type of van) with the bags and I hopped in the front with Billa and the driver. The drive to the hotel was actually pretty short, nothing broke down, the van's lights worked, no traffic jam, just "Normal". Again, I am grateful for Normal.

Sunshine and I checked in and they had our reservations and the room was ready, can you believe that, "Normal".
 
 
After I put Sunshine to bed, she had a long trip (about 27 hours in total) I went downstairs to practice my Twi by ordering a night cap of my favorite South African wine. All is good with my world tonight. I will see my kids at the children's center tomorrow. 
 
 Normal is relative but Normal is Good tonight.