Saturday, July 29, 2017

Ghana 2017 - Day 18. A day at the city

I had made a list of things I needed to accomplish today, which should take me all over Accra. By now I own the city, so it was quite easy to chart my way using trotros and shortcuts. First, I had the project of going back to the W.E.B. DuBois memorial to buy a book of Ghanaian folk tales. I did find one I liked, and then another, and another, and at the end bought four, which will add considerably to my load but should also give me endless hours of entertainment with Ronaldito.

Then I went to the US Embassy, only to find out that I couldn’t come in carrying a cell phone, and no, I could not simply check it in at the door. Is that a stupid rule, or what? Who in this time and age doesn’t carry a cell phone? Fortunately I was on high standing at the W.E.B. DuBois memorial (after all, I had just spent a small fortune there), so I trudged back there and asked them to hold my electronics for me, which they readily agreed to do. Back to the embassy I went, but again I was barred entrance. A helpful guard took my passport and took it in, and five minutes later he came out to tell me that I should do an appointment through the internet, and in any case they were no longer adding pages to passports and I would have to request a new one. Grrr! I was miffed, planning in my mind a nastygram to send to the Department of State and my congressman. Afterward I checked in the embassy website, and they did indeed had there the no cell phones, and previous appointment requirements. Furthermore, they had a note stating that as of January 1, 2016 the Department of State was discontinuing the practice of adding pages to existing passports. Growl! Defeated by bureaucracy once again L

The next stop was the Ghana Water Resources Commission, where I was going to see if I could buy a 2011 report entitled “A primer for water conservation, flood risk reduction, and irrigation strategy for Northern Ghana”, which I thought would make good reading for my class. After my encounter with American bureaucracy I was jaded about asking for a report to a Ghanaian government entity, and imagined my inquiry would encounter all sorts of red tape. Still, no guts no glory, and I stepped boldly into the foyer. The secretary listened to me with great attention, and then asked for a moment while she found someone to help me. A few seconds later a very nice young woman came to my aid, made a couple of phone calls, and the escorted me to the library, where she searched through stacks of old reports until she found the one I was looking for. She then asked me to follow her to the foyer and wait for a minute. At that very moment a smiling big wig entered dragging an associate in tow, and followed by the biggest policeman I have seen. His entrance caused a flutter of activity, and I thought that my little matter was now going to linger until the big wig had completed his business. Not really, the big wig was asked to take a sit, and my attending angel came a few minutes later carrying an envelope. When I asked if there was a price she dismissed the silly idea and wished me a good day. What a good feeling to be decently treated.

I made a few more stops, and came home loaded with parcels and books. I was hot and thirsty, but nothing that my wonderful AC and small refrigerator could not take care of. I need to be ready to receive and grade midterms tomorrow!

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