Monday, 4 July 2011

Coming Back I

22 May- 19 June 2011
I have always observed that when something comes to an end, there is always a surge in the activities. Same thing happened to me when my time in Ghana was coming to an end and it was the last month. I had to be part of a week long training cum workshop, organize for two workshops, complete all of my reports and say bye to the people around properly within four weeks.
The malaria caught me again in mid-way draining my energy. I had gone to Tamale to do my last month shopping of African batik cloths when it attacked me in a serious way. I was lucky enough to get sick in Tamale and not at some odd place. It was good to have a friend like Raj at Tamale who took good care of me and also to have good medical facilities in the city. Of course it was not good to be sick near the end of my time in Ghana and it’s after effects continued for next week as well. I could complete my important tasks somehow in time, thanks to all the good people around me.
So soon?”, I was asked by the people around me, whenever I told them date of my departure. One year had passed very fast for me and also for the people around. “Oh! We’ll miss you,” was one more common remark by the people. I don’t know whether every remark was genuine or it was said in a customary way. “Won’t you come again?” said some people. I answered genuinely, “I would like to come again sometime but I’ll have to come on my own and VSO will not pay for my coming to Ghana again, so I don’t know as of now, when I’ll be able to come back.” Many people asked whether I could extend by one more year.
I had mixed feeling while leaving Bongo and Bolgatanga as I started packing and giving out my things which I could not take back home to people. I was feeling sad to leave behind so many good friends and this friendly country which had been so good to me. I was happy to be back with my family and start with my career again. Many of the neighbours came to the house and took my address and phone numbers as if they were really going to remain in touch with me afterwards. One youth came to me and took my email id because he wanted to come to India and he wanted my help in the form of invitation letter.
As the tradition in the group of VSO volunteers in the Upper East, we had a fare well party. In the typical western tradition, it was BYOB (Bring Your Own Bottle) type, where every person coming to the party brings his/her own drink and food. It is not heavy on pocket because of this and very affordable to a volunteer. It was really good to see all the volunteer friends before leaving Bolgatanga for good. It was good of them to come for the occasion especially when the host is not paying for the hospitality.
Finally my last day in Bongo came and my friends Joshua, Zarena and Seidu had come to say good bye to me. When VSO vehicle arrived at the house to pick me up and take me to the office along with some other stuff in the house which they wanted to shift to some other house, I was told to go to the office and meet the District super bosses in whose offices I was working. In the last week most of them had been very busy and I had not been able to meet them and say proper good bye. There was an attempt to give me a send-off on the last day. After a brief exit interview at the VSO office in Bolgatanga, I was dropped to the bus station. My friends Rogier and Miranda had come there to see me off.
The bus started. I was not going to come to this place again. In the evening, while bus had taken a stop at, Joshua, my friend from Bongo called me and told that there is full moon eclipse. I was lucky to see the reddish coloured moon though it was a rainy season. Somewhere in the morning I reached Accra, where I had three and half days to spend.
I spent these days by going to the police headquarters to complete the criminal records check, completing VSO formalities, getting paid my expense claims, working on some VSO reports, meeting friends in Accra, changing my money to US Dollars, doing going to Aburi Botanical Garden, doing some last shopping and seeing off my VSO friend, Romeo at the airport. While roaming around doing all those tasks, I first time came across a very androgynous looking man on the street. While in Mumbai, where sight of eunuchs is very common, it was not at all common to see such type of people in Ghana. Overall, my time in Accra was good but with all the eagerness to finish those days as early as possible and get on the plane.