Mission Rabies Ghana – Chapter 15: My final post from Ghana


Mission Rabies Ghana, February 2020; what an adventure!! Let’s wrap this puppy up with a blog post.

The tentative schedule this morning was: breakfast at 8:00, departure from Lake Bosomtwe at 9:00.  I packed my suitcase last night except for the few things I would need in the morning, so I was pretty ready to go.  I set the alarm for 7:00, as if I would ever sleep that late.  Of course, I woke up at 4:50 a.m.   I wish I could sleep late, but my body is just not built that way.  I laid in bed for while, and then I realized that this was the last time I’d get to see the beautiful lake ever again.  I quickly showered and got dressed and headed down there, hoping to hear the birds, experience the stillness, and watch the sun rise.  

On the pathway from our rooms to the lake, I passed this huge-ass beetle. 


There were already some people fishing on the lake, which is always a nice sight. 

 The birds were all awake, singing their songs and darting about.  The past few days, it has been quite overcast, and I hadn’t been able to see another sunset all week.  Unfortunately, this morning was also very hazy, and there wasn’t much of a sunrise at first, however, the sun did eventually burn through the haze and mist. 

I spotted Petra coming toward the lake.  She, too, wanted to get one final look at it before we departed.

We headed back up toward the dining area, where we had our final breakfast as a group.  Pancakes and an omelet, my favorite.  The bus, which was scheduled for 9:00, arrived around 9:15, and by the time we had it all loaded up with our luggage, it was 9:30.  It was the same big, comfortable, air-conditioned bus that we had taken two weeks ago.  Once again, it was a very comfortable ride.  After about three hours, we stopped at a rest area, and grabbed some lunch.  I got a sandwich and some yam fries.  I’d had yam fries a few times for lunch, during our vaccination outings; we’d stop at markets sometimes and get them from street vendors.  I really like them.  I also bought an egg sandwich.

The bread-to-egg ratio was so outrageously disproportionate that it bordered on comical.  I had to take a photo.  

We arrived at the hotel around 2:30, which is amazingly fast.  My travel itinerary, however, wasn’t so great.  I initially wanted to book the direct flight that leaves tonight from Accra to JFK at 10:15, but Helena discouraged this, because she couldn’t guarantee with certainty that we’d be back in time.  Traffic is unpredictable and the roads are terrible, and people here operate on “Ghana time”, i.e. anywhere from 15 minutes to an hour later than what is scheduled.  So I booked my flight for Sunday night instead.  This is not ideal.  The flight leaves at 10:30 p.m, which means you have to check out at noon and then leave your bags with the hotel while you’re out sightseeing.  I’m sure there are many things to see and do in Accra, but after two very full and active weeks in Bosomtwe, I had no more enthusiasm for sightseeing.  The main issue with the Sunday night flight was that it was not direct.  The first leg is a 9 hour flight to Amsterdam.  Then there is a 5 hour layover, followed by an 8 hour flight to New York.  Total travel time would be 22 hours.  I decided to try my luck at changing my ticket, knowing that a Saturday night flight to NYC is bound to be pretty full.  To my shock and delight, they had an opening, and I snagged it.  The cost to change the ticket was $195, which I was very willing to pay.  Unfortunately, the only seat they had was a middle seat in row 32.  Oh well, you can’t have everything.  

Petra and Laura were also leaving that night, so we all went to the airport together. I checked in at a Delta kiosk at the airport, and then decided to try my luck again with the ticket agent.  I went up to the desk and charmed her, telling her how much I loved Ghana and how friendly the people were, and she was very flattered, and then I asked if there was any possibility of changing my seat to an aisle seat.  She was looking at her screen, but didn’t see anything immediately.  Then she left for a moment and spoke to someone nearby, and then went back to the screen. She told me that she asked that agent to release some seats that were on hold. She gave me a seat with extra legroom in row 18, at no additional charge!  It’s amazing how a little niceness and charm goes a long way.  

I hung out for a little while with Laura and Petra until they had to go to their gate.  My flight departed later than theirs.  

I waited at my gate and reflected upon the incredible experience that I had over these past few weeks.  To be able to visit interesting and exotic places, work with local and international veterinarians and technicians, meet fellow volunteers, and help people and animals is amazing and wonderful, and never for a moment did I take for granted how blessed I am to have these kinds of opportunities.  You don’t have to be a veterinarian or a technician to take part in these projects.  If you want to broaden your horizons and see a country in ways that you never imagined, meet fabulous people, and have both a direct impact on people’s lives as well as a global impact in helping eradicate a deadly disease, then I urge you to consider applying for a Mission Rabies project.  My personal goal is to take part in a new Mission Rabies project every year, until I’ve visited all of their outposts.  So stay tuned, and with any luck, you’ll be reading about me vaccinating dogs in Tanzania in January.   

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