Hey, if you have been conditioned to believe that every border crossing is difficult and unpleasant, that you must be prepared to lubricate the hands that open the gates into the new country with some "dash," if you have ever felt your heart sink at the prospect of dealing with the various officials who seem to enjoy torturing the African traveler, then, my dear friend, journey to the border of Ghana and Burkina Faso for a little corrective reconditioning.
Come to Paga and Dakola, don't speak French, expect to be put into the line for cretins and morons, look suspiciously at the officials! Then, realize that they are smiling at you, they are being courteous. The Ghanaians are helping you fill forms, they are having extended conversations with you about the brotherly rivalry between Nigeria and Ghana.
The dream gets better: the officials on the Burkina side are outdoing the Ghanaians in courtesy, in politeness and helpfulness.
I pinch myself. Should I be even more suspicious? Is this a trap, am I being set up?
No, it's all real. I can celebrate this. This is the Africa I came looking for. I can go home happy now. I knew it was out there.
But it really begs the question of why it's so different at the Seme-Cotonou, Hillacondji & Aflao borders. My wild guess? Corruption o! Corruption, the pit latrine of human commerce. Let's be as one to make all of Africa worthy of celebrating. It doesn't have to be this way!