Up at 6am, at the bus station by 8am, on the bus leaving the station around 1230pm. Normally waiting at a bus station for four and a half hours for the bus to come would be pretty frustrating, annoying and leave me in a bad mood (especially when it leaves over 2 hours behind schedule. But this time I had one of my favourite books to keep me company The Alchemist as well as national newspaper The Daily Graphic.
As I sit back her in Tamale the morning after I arrived at 11pm in the night, thinking back: if all this delaying and waiting and things not going according to schedule, if it didn’t happen then I wouldn’t have been able to have experiences that I did. I’m not just referring to sitting around waiting a bus stop or sitting around waiting on the side of the road when the bus broke down for 2-3 hours, but rather what happened in between.
At the bus station I read some interesting articles: one that was promoting the need to for rights and services to women confined in “witch camps” as well as pushing for the practice to be abolished; one written by the minister of finance arguing that GDP is one aspect of measuring economic growth and should not be the sole mechanism, esp. since GDP can increase without jobs being created and without most people benefitting; one arguing that Western style democracy (referring to the US) is not democratic and should not be blindly adapted in Africa but rather African nations should find their own path to development and develop their own form of democracy.
And in addition to the newspaper, The Alchemist always encourages me to live in the present, treat people with dignity, respect, and love, and pay attention to ‘coincidences’ for they are often significant – in general I’m reminded to keep a positive outlook on life.
Nothing eventful or significant happened while on the bus, I listened to my IPod and slept. When we stopped in Kintampo I bought some fresh huge mangos, avocados, and a pineapple for pretty cheap to share with my friends back in Tamale, and we picked up 3 Norwegian young ladies. Then our bus broke down outside of Kintampo, which turned out to be a good thing since I met and talked with the Norwegians and a German named Daniel. I talked with 2 of the ladies (one named Frida) about what they were doing in Ghana – some exchange at a university for environmental studies and writing a paper on climate change and the adaptability of farmers, unfortunately the program didn’t really include filed work or face time with farmers so they were asking me if I had any insights. They also asked about what I was doing and I then explained.
But what stood out for me was talking about politics. We discussed how Norway isn’t an EU member and it’s a very heated divided issue in politics there, with half the people for and against. I also learned first hand that Norway ‘s economy is driven by oil which one of the ladies expressed wasn’t a good thing. Frida also explained that she was on the list to become a municipal representative for a community, I still don’t understand their political system but it was interesting to here how she supports the socialist type party and the mere fact that a socialist party had support there – I mentioned that back in Canada a socialist party would be condemned like Stalin. So I was thankful for learning about Norway and hearing different perspectives.
The bus was finally fixed and we continued to Tamale. It’s a different dynamic in the city at night, I see young people and wonder if their parents are neglectful like the 2 young boys dancing at the drinking spot in Navrongo late one night. The gang of us white folk set off to find a guest house, but realized this would be difficult since the president is in town – who woulda thought? Luckily the first place we went to had a room for 2 people so Daniel and I stayed there while the 3 Norwegians took a taxi and searched for another place. Daniel is pretty cool, has traveled a lot and is really friendly. I thought to myself, “only in Ghana would you meet someone a matter of hours ago and trust them enough to be sleep in the same room. This would never/rarely happen in Canada.”
While visiting the agric college a few days ago in Kumasi, I was talking with a lecturer EWB has been working with named Ishak and he said “Every challenge or problem is an opportunity”. Thinking back to yesterday I feel thankful that I was able to take advantage of the opportunities instead of indulge in the negativity of the challenges.