I arrived in Accra today, the capital city of Ghana. The route down was really nice with some lovely views, it was nice to see some hills, bends in the road,, banana trees and lush vegetation. I was regularly waved to a halt by friendly policemen (and women) who insisted I stop and chat, some did not even bother with the paperwork; they were just curious about me and the bike. Besides the change in vegetation on the ride south, the change in the economic situation was also apparent. Cars are newer (and faster), machinery rather than labour is used, there are more variety and more specialisation in the shops. Having said this, the West African norms of fruit sellers at the side of the road alongside money transfer agents and mobile phone topups are still there.
There was more than one occasion when oncoming vehicles decided it was ok to start overtaking in front of me, that is what my edge of the road is for right? Once this happened within a few meters of me, I slammed on the brakes and swerved, I still do not know how we did not hit each other. I left three skid marks there (I have two wheels). That shook me up a bit. I am naturally a cautious rider but that sort of thing is difficult to predict or avoid. This blog entry was nearly called “Not another president” but I don’t know who was in the motorcade that sped past me with a police motorcycle escort.
On reaching Accra I met Hussain and several other members of the Ghana National Scout and Guide Fellowship. Many of them are employed by CPS Security who supply security guards to banks and other premises. They employ ex-Scouts which i think it’s a great demonstration of laws of Scouting. A Scout is to be trusted, a Scout is a brother to all Scouts.. etc.
An interview was done for Ghana National TV and radio and tomorrow they are taking me to meet a reporter. Publicity for their causes and for Scouting in general is one of the few ways I can repay their hospitality.
I have reached the half way point in terms of distance on my journey. There is an important decision to be made about my final destination. Up until now my destination has been Cape Town in South Africa. However my trip has been about travelling through Africa to meet people, especially Scouts. An old but important saying that I keep repeating is that it is not the destination that is important, it is the journey.
If I continue to Cape Town I have some very difficult terrain to cover in Congo but the prizes are the wildlife of Southern Africa and being able to say I did it. But if I turn around at this point there is a good chance I can go back and visit the Ebola effected countries I had to miss because of quaranteen rules in the countries on the way South. Those restrictions are not there if I am heading North. There is also the cost of shopping myself and the bike from Cape Town that could be saved if I ride back.
I have not made a decision yet, I may let the decision rest with higher powers than me (Ghana Customs). If they transfer my temporary import permit to Togo then it is meant to be that I continue South. If that is not possible, then returning the way I came (at least until Burkina Faso) is the natural and correct choice. Let the dice roll to determine my next move.