Luck travels with us this morning as we leave the Akofa Guesthouse in the village of Amedzofe, and squeeze into the last two seats on the “Tro-tro.” Fifteen of us bump shoulders down the rutted road through the forest. Once the road turns to pavement, we hump it to the town of Ho.

At the Freedom Hotel, a man sits in the lobby and smiles at us.

“Good morning, how are you?” He extends his hand, and we shake, Ghanaian style, with a limp pressing of forefingers, ending with each of our middle fingers making a click, a snap. He laughs, delighted that I try to greet him according to custom. Mare does the same.

“We’re wonderful, thank you,” I respond.

“I’m taking the day off from the School Master’s Conference today.” He places his feet upon the coffee table. “After six days in a row, a person needs a rest.”

“I couldn’t agree more.”

He asks if we are checking-out.

“No,” Mare says. “We’re trying to find a room.”

He raises his hands into the air towards the receptionist. “Show our friends some Ghanaian hospitality! Give them a good room, Ghana style.”

She laughs. We all laugh.

“My name is Emmanuel Ekow, which means that I was born on Thursday,” he explains.

“Nice to meet you, I respond. “In Africa I have no name, but in the USA, I am Ron. Our names usually don’t mean anything.”

“Ahh, the USA. I’ve been to the Grand Canyon once. It was the most spectacular thing I’ve ever seen in my life.” He raises his eyebrows and says, “Obama!”

He asks Mare and I about our travels in Ghana, and is proud of his country, delighted that we visit.

We end up in an air conditioned room, complete with a hand-held shower, but opt to immerse our overheated bodies into the cool pool. We celebrate with a cold beer. Who cares if it is only eleven o’clock in the morning?

After several hours of an electronic labor of love in the internet room, we dine on the second story, overlooking the busy street below. The beeps of taxis and murmur of pedestrians blend in with traditional African drum music, and the tune of cell phones.

While I dip Fu Fu (a doughy substance pounded from cassava and yam) into goat soup, Mare opts for a vegetarian pizza. Then…Apollo shows up. We are happy to see him, and he joins us for a dinner. (He is a guide we met back at the KO-SA resort)

Tomorrow, Apollo will guide us through two border crossings to his hometown, in the country of Benin, the birthplace of Voodoo. He speaks French, and many tribal languages.


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