Most of the group arrived in Accra on Monday and Tuesday and we had the opportunity to explore a little bit of Accra and grab a delicious lunch down the street from our hotel.
We noticed the weather was rather cool and it was quite foggy and overcast, which puzzled us. We had running theories that it may be pollution or a mix of pollution and fog. Both theories are wrong. What we have been experiencing is called "The Harmattan". According to Wikipedia, it's the season between the end of November and the middle of March when dusty winds are blown into Ghana from the Sahara Desert. It's also generally characterized by the dry, cool temperatures that we've been experiencing. We definitely aren't complaining about the breezy weather, as Accra is know it get incredibly hot and humid. However, this unique weather phenomenon was about to cost us two days lost to the airport, as flight after flight got canceled due to extremely low visibility.
When our original flight to Tamale got canceled on Wednesday morning we scrambled to change our flight to an evening flight to Kumasi, which is about halfway between Accra and Tamale. Later that evening we were relieved as the flight boarded right on time and we took off for our 30 minute-long flight. We has been flying for about 25 minutes when the pilot came onto the loudspeaker an casually announced that due to low visibility on the ground in Kumasi, the plane was turning back around and returning to Accra. We were SO close! Dismayed, we returned to Accra and were able to book a flight to Kumasi for the following morning at 6:30am, as we were told the hazy conditions were generally better in the morning.
We returned to our hotel for the night and then woke up at the crack of dawn for take three of our attempt to fly north towards Bolgatanga. We checked our luggage and got through security and sat in the waiting room as a earlier flight to Tamale (our original destination which is only a few hours away by car from Bolgatanga) successfully boarded and left. This was an encouraging sign, as we were told the haze is worse the further north you go. Right before we were set to board the plane an announcement was made that our flight was delayed by an hour. An hour later, we were the told the flight had been completely canceled. Again.
On to plan J...the VIP bus. Our team member Samuel, had already traveled to Kumasi and stayed the night to pick us up and complete our journey to Bolgatanga. Because our flight to Kumasi was canceled, we had to find another way to get there to meet him. He told us to take the VIP bus from Accra straight there. Nathan had already told us about his extremely uncomfortable experience taking a bus north in Ghana so, needless to say, we weren't thrilled by the proposition. However, we are here on a mission to see some wells!
We arrived at a crowded bus depot on the other side of town.
I have to say, the hectic scene was actually pretty exhilarating and a welcome change from the over air conditioned waiting room at the airport.
We got our tickets and boarded the bus. Much to our surprise, the bus was extremely spacious and comfortable and had a mean seat recline- I guess that's why it's called the VIP bus!
After a 6 hour journey, we got to Kumasi where we met Samuel. After stopping for lunch, we started our 10 hour drive to Bolgatanga and we just arrived at our hotel in Bolga about an hour ago. It was a bonding experience for the group of us and spirits are still high, despite a 1 hour flight to Kumasi turning into a 3 day ordeal.
We are exhausted but very excited for what's in store tomorrow! We will finally have our first glimpse at the Well Constructed wells!
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