Travelling to the ROOTS

At two o’clock in the afternoon we start by Uber taxi to Accra Main Station, where the bus leaves for Nandom in the Upper West Region. The traffic jam on Saturday afternoon is again legendary. For a few miles we need an hour! On the spot, the hustle and bustle is as hectic as it is colourful. Those who travel by bus always seem to have a lot of luggage with them – wherever they are going: mattresses, televisions, huge plastic bags, cardboard boxes and much more. Everything is stuffed into the luggage compartments. You might think it all takes forever, but the bus leaves on time. The temperature of all passengers is taken, but very few wear a mask. Compared to Berlin and Germany, Covid19, Corona, vaccination and booster vaccination, incidence figures and discussions about how best to stop this fourth wave are not an issue here at all. In Accra, many people wear surgical masks, but I don’t see any FFP2 masks. Well then. Strangely enough, I still feel safe.

It would have been a dream if the bus, as announced online, only ran from 4 p.m. to 2.35 a.m. to Wa. But I know that this is simply not true. To be honest, it took us 17.5 hours to cover these 800 kilometres. The worst thing was not the long drive, but the fact that a church service was transmitted via all loudspeakers – forever and ever. One of those enlightened and self-appointed pastors who shout their beliefs into the microphone. I guess they think it has to be that way to be convincing. I thought I was going to die. When it was quiet for half an hour …. A blessing. But then the TVs were switched on and a nigerian soap opera was on all night, with no less scrambling characters. It might be that this would then be interesting if I could understand Twi, but so for me it was only gibberish and loud. Sleeping was out of the question. Although I thought I would not be able to endure this drive, Ernestina and I ended up in Nandom, about 20 miles from Hiineteng. Titus and Ransford picked us up in the now red dusty Highlander. They themselves had also arrived only a few hours earlier after a long crossing. So it is not surprising that Titus is now taking a nap. I haven’t even greeted everyone yet. The family is totally busy with building, cooking, washing … I don’t disturb anyone … It’s a good feeling that no one is making a fuss about me. Ernestina has also disappeared into the cottage with her parents and siblings. I go in search of a bucket of water to take a shower.

It looks like two years ago, the landscape dry, the earth scorched. On Sundays, everyone dresses up to go to church, to walk or to be driven in the three-wheeled taxis. The homestead has changed, where the little house once stood where my room was in 1989, a big house with several rooms has been built. So everything is developing here. I have already said hello here and there, but have retired to my room to catch my breath. The journey is now starting for me a second time.