Sunday, 27 July 2008

Leaving Accra

We finally left Accra, kicking and screaming. I almost wish I could stay longer but I already postponed leaving twice this week. We got into Kumasi around 5pm, because even though we got to the bus station around 10, we didn’t leave until 1pm! I think I’m beginning to learn the true meaning of patience and slow down the pace I used to have when I was working, it’s a bit humbling to realize that the world does not revolve around me and what I want!

It’s been another beautiful week, with me meeting more people than I have met in a loooong time, I even fell in lust (I’m not telling who). Everyone has been very encouraging about ‘Celebrate Africa’ and with contributing wonderful ideas for making it a truly successful project.

It seems like the possibilities are endless and I think that’s one of the things that scares me, it might be such a runaway success that I wouldn’t know what to do with it.

I’m now in Kumasi, and will be in Tamale on Tuesday, if I can find someone to host me. Then it’s on to Burkina Faso on Thursday. I’m a bit apprehensive about Burkina because I no ‘parle francais’, but I bet it’s going to be really interesting to see how far my sign language and a smattering of French mixed with Hausa takes me.

My sister, Ijeoma leaves for Lagos on Monday and then it’s just me and any of the many friends I make along the way. Two people close to me have expressed interest in joining me, but we’ll see. Anyone who wants to join is welcome, so long as I don’t hold anyone’s hand or baby-sit because this is as much a journey of self-discovery as it is a journey to discover Africa. So we’ll see.

I’m going to try and write something everyday but update during the weekend so that I don’t have to spend everyday of the week looking for internet connections. Remember to check my website for updates and remember to donate, donate, donate.



Saturday, 19 July 2008

Six days on the road.

Six days on the road.

Boy! Have I had a good time or what? I’ve gone to the museum, been to an Obama Rally that didn’t happen, gotten a killer hangover, visited the botanical gardens in the hills in Aburi, got hit on by dreadlocked guys on the beach in Cape coast looking to score with any foreigner, even if you’re from Nigeria, visited an essential oil processing plantation, stayed up all night, all in six days!
I got a great confidence boost when I met June, a Kenyan, who travelled across Africa in a straight line, through conflict zones for the BBC. She was very enthusiastic and encouraged me to go for it, saying it’s going to change my life for the better if I do. She’s also volunteered to give me some contacts and we talked about how we could eventually develop a contact pool for anyone who wanted to do this trip. Sounds like a great idea, something worth looking into.

Next week promises to be activity-packed as well and it looks like I’m going to have to turn down some invitations. I’ll be visiting some towns up north as I move towards the boundary between Ghana and Burkina Faso. I’ll be making stopovers in Kumasi, Tamale and Bolgatonga.

Right now, we’re in Takoradi, a quiet peaceful town in the western region. If you ever want to go on vacation in Ghana, make sure you visit Takoradi. It’s a beautiful city, with a great view anywhere you are and green everywhere. There are several beaches within walking distances and hills for you to go hiking on if you wish. We’re staying at a lovely house up on a hill with a view of the ocean and lovely garden with exotic flowers. Yeah, it’s a good life.
I’m creating a page on the Celebrate Africa website for every country I visit, so you can read all about the people I’ve been meeting on the what’s new page.

It begins!

Yeah, I’m off! Finally. I’ve waited so long for this. My parents and my younger sister Chinyere ,saw me off to the bus station and there were tears as we said our goodbyes. My sisters Oluchi and Ijeoma, decide to go with me as far as Ghana, since they’re on vacation. So we’re looking forward to a lovely time in Ghana.
The trip was the usual, with the customary stop and hassle at the borders even though luckily we went on an ABC bus, so we didn’t have to deal with the immigrations officials directly. However, I think Ecowas needs to do something about travelling across our borders because it can become a lot easier than it is right now.

Anyways, we got into Accra on Sunday and it’s been slow-paced but fun so far. We got an invitation to an ‘Obama rally’, another one to visit a plantation in the western region and an invite to some friends in Kumasi.

So far, I will be going to all of these places and I still plan to visit a designer from a Burkina and a non-profit in Accra.

The most liberating thing about my trip so far is the fact that I can just up and do whatever I wish, no questions asked. I can decide to visit any city I want, I can change my mind. It’s my prerogative. If I like the city, I can stay longer but if not, I could leave on the next bus. This really promises to be a great trip.



Monday, 7 July 2008

Two send-off parties and a new beginning.

July 1st 2008

Two send-off parties and a new beginning.

Last night, I went to the movies with my friends and family. Ordinarily, it wouldn’t really be significant except that for the next year, I wont be going to the movies with my friends and family every Monday as I usually do. So, last night we had a send-off gathering for me, drinks and the movies. Everybody kept asking me if I was really going to do this. For about 30 minutes they took shots at me in jest, Jide called me foolhardy, Funmi called me crazy, Ijeoma said ‘the wildlife in Africa is the least of your problems, it’s the people you should be afraid of!’ We had many laughs and a few drinks.

I will definitely miss the movies with the ‘fun bobs’ ( I don’t know what that means, but I found out that’s what our weekly gathering’s called), I’ll miss meeting up at the cinemas in the evening on Mondays to watch even the wackiest movies from Hollywood, because it’s about the hanging out not the movie. I’ll miss all the cynical commentary and chants of ‘chick flick’ whenever we hear any corny line. I’ll miss all the laughs and fighting over salt or sugar popcorn. I’ll miss Jide’s Gummi worms.

Today, my office threw a send-off party after working there for nearly 5 years. I left with mixed feelings, joy that I’m starting something new and sadness that I’m leaving something and people that I’ve known for that long. There were many tears, mostly from me but there were lots of hugs too. Thinking back on my years with KIND, I realize that I’ve grown a lot since when I first joined the organization and I’ve learned a lot from working there. I’ll surely miss my colleagues who have become like my family.

I feel many emotions, most of it excitement for the new adventure, lots of heartfelt joy because my dream is coming true, relief that I’m finally getting to do what I’ve always wanted and fear that I’m out on my own now in this big bad world. I am going away to create new memories and pursue a dream that might be foolhardy but definitely worthy, crazy but exciting. I plan to thoroughly enjoy myself, take the difficult days in my stride and just generally have a blast!

It’s a new day.


Resignation Day

2nd June 2008

Resignation Day

I handed in my resignation letter today. Liberation. Freedom. Excitement. Fear. Sadness. I go through all these feelings as I submit the letter to the admin manager.
Liberation because my own time is now mine to do as I will, work on my own terms. I now call the shots! Freedom from all the politics that comes with working in an office, I’m now free to be and not worrying how to make my every move at work strategic. Excitement because this means Celebrate Africa is really happening, my dream to see Africa by road is no longer a dream, I am doing it! Yippeee!!
Fear of the unknown: what if I fail? What if all my money finishes on the journey halfway and I have to come back home without accomplishing anything? But it is better to have tried and failed than not to have tried at all( Yeah, I know it’s a cliché, but that’s because it’s true).
Sadness because I have spent four and half years working here, making friends, learning, growing and becoming. Goodbye is truly the saddest word.

It’s 44 days to take-off date. I have so many things to sort out, because of the tight work schedule I’ve had since the beginning of the year, all the planning for Celebrate Africa has been in my head. I have to sort out banking issues, contacts for every country, learn how to use the cameras, shop for stuff, work on the website, raise more funds, and the list goes on and on…

As I reflect on the past 4 years, I’m literally surprised at how far I have come since January 2004 when I was really in a bad place and needed a change in my life. That change came with the job and all it’s challenges and triumphs. I don’t wish that anything happened differently, it was the way it was supposed and for that I’m thankful.

Like they say, when it’s time to go, it’s time to go. All that remains is for me to figure out a way to tell my parents that I quit my job!

Ndewo nu.