Wednesday, 24 August 2011

16 hours and counting…

… and the final preparations are done. Bags packed and repacked to meet weight requirements, boxes sent via DHL (except for the guitar, which came unstuck on its non-conforming dimensions) and flight details checked every hour or so, even though I know it is 10.45 tomorrow. Our anti-malarials went into the hand luggage - a three month supply cost more than my camera. The flat was cleaned yesterday (to exacting German standards) and so a few hours to kill time before leaving for Accra tomorrow.

Time to think about our new home for the next two years. It’s hard to know quite what to expect – the internet provides a website to meet every viewpoint these days, although most agree that Ghana is a beautiful and welcoming country – many repeating the cliche “Africa for beginners”. Accra’s reviews are a little more mixed; some describe it as an exciting, bustling city and one of Africa’s safer capitals, others dismiss it as a dull stopover that is best departed as soon as possible on route to the country’s more interesting parts (Cape Coast, the Volta hills, Mole National Park). It’s hard to know which views are correct – the truth is no doubt somewhere in the middle – and we will find out soon enough. Descriptions of the area we will live in – West Legon – make it sound safe, fairly pleasant and a touch dull, a Ghanaian take on Milton Keynes.

The goodbye to Hannover was a little easier than leaving Brighton two years ago. Less stuff to pack away for one thing (my worldly possessions, i.e. Star Wars figures, old football programmes and various walking paraphernalia are already tucked away in my dad’s attic) and fewer goodbyes. A farewell game at Hannover 96 was a typically frustrating 1-1 draw, and my last 6-aside game for Rote Kurve in the Fansliga ended with a last-minute fluffed clearance from the lumbering English defender (me) to cost us a hard-earned point against the league leaders. Hopefully there’s a team in Accra in need of some good old-fashioned English hoofing at the back.

Next stop Hannover airport, followed by Munich, Lisbon and, finally, Accra.