"I'm what the world considers to be a phenomenally successful man. And I've failed much more than I've succeeded. And each time I fail, I get my people together, and I say, "Where are we going?" And it starts to get better." - Calvin Trager
Saturday, June 19, 2004 Didn't go to Budrumburam on Friday. Ann's cousin, Borbi, who used to live there, joined us Friday morning and said we would be much better off going today (which we are) because Fridays and Tuesdays are market days and the traffic is terrible. So we're doing that trip today.
Instead, we did the tourist thing. Borbi, who has lived in Accra for about 4 1/2 years, was our tour guide. First, we took a trotro and taxi to the Kwame Nkrumah mausoleum and museum. Nkrumah was the first president of Ghana after independence and, although he later had to flee the country after he was overthrown (and died in exile in Guinea), he has come back into good graces and now is well-revered. In addition to being the first president, he was also a big pan-African activist (trying to create unity over the peoples of the whole continent).
Funny thing happened there. When we paid our fee and walked in, the first thing we noticed was that around the statue of Nkrumah there was a whole group of children singing to someone ... and also a couple policemen with AK-47s hanging around. Must be someone important here, we thought. Turns out it was the new Lt. Governor of Maryland, here to talk trade. Well, Ann was laughing because she is from Maryland and one of the LG's aides overheard her and introduced us to him and had us pose for pictures with him (he was traveling with two photographers).
The museums here are very sparse by Western standards, but having Borbi with us was great because he filled in a lot of gaps.
After that, we went to the cultural center, which is really just a bazaar for all sorts of crafts. It's like Nogales on steriods ... everyone pulling and pushing you into their stalls and trying to sell you things at way more than they are worth. Ann is a brilliant negotiator and I was able to draw on some of my Nogales experience to get a couple things for the boys at decent prices.
Then we went to Osu, the tourist district where all the Europeans hang out ... VERY different from, the rest of Accra. Actual stores that you can go into that are air conditioned and that take VISA cards. Very strange.
From there, we caught a cab to the W.E.B. Dubois museum, which Mackinnon had heard of and really wanted to see. After some delays at the front desk, we were admitted and, after we were joined by a young woman from the U.K. who was in Ghana teaching English in the Eastern region, our tour began.
Then our tour abruptly ended as our guide got a call that he had to leave us because an important visitor had arrived. A few minutes later, the Lt.Governor and his entourage (which included the VP of Ghana,we later found out) arrived ... which was good for a few laughs. We finished the tour with them.
The coolest part was that the executive director of the museum came out and helped out with the tour. The ED is none other than Kwame Nkrumah's youngest son. We hung out with him and a resident pan-African scholar there for awhile afterwards as he indoctrinated us into the basics of pan-Africanism. Pretty cool.
Caught a taxi back to the trotro stop and then a trotro back to Mallam. Tried to post at the internet cafe but the server crashed pretty soon after we got there.
The Crossroads students were there when we got home last night. 10 of them, all women, all looking tired and a little shell shocked. I'll see more of them tonight, I imagine.
Tomorrow, it's celebrating (hopefully with a little more polish) at Christ the King. Monday, Mackinnon, Victor, Josephine ("aunite Jo", James' assistant) and I head out for the Western Region to visit the HIV/AIDS programs there (it's her regular quarterly visits). We'll drive all day Monday and Saturday, stay in the district capitals (3 different ones) and do day trips Tuesday through Friday.
Gotta post this and go as we need to be off soon. Thanks for all the comments. Keep 'em coming! (THough I probably won't be able to post at all next week).
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