zondag 13 september 2009


Working and travelling in Africa remains a passion that will never fade away. Arriving in Accra on saturday night I hit my bed immediately to be fresh for the three hour drive to the Togolese border. After the first 1,5 hour on the highway, the scenery becomes more and more pretty when passing through villages and forests along the coast. Every now and then the ocean shows herself and I remember walking along the beach at Keta eight months ago when I travelled the same road as a tourist. And I realise how lucky I am to be able to enjoy all this beauty again. At the border I walk with my bags from the Ghanain side to the Togolese, the box with readers carried by a woman on her head. I am on my way to Lome for the first training of eight in a row in various African countries. A bit crazy it is indeed but I will do everything I can to make each and every training a memorable one, for the participants as well as for myself. To start with Training and Facilitation Techniques in Lome. Working with very engaged persons from Cameroon, Ivory Coast and Togo. And, being a music lover, taking the opportunity as well to dance the night away at the oldest nightclub of Lome, Babylos (after the training finished that is...) before returning to Accra, grasping another chance to contemplate all the beauty that Africa has to offer.
Photo: me and colleagues from a local training and consultancy organisation that organised the training in collaboration with MDF.

zaterdag 31 januari 2009

West Africa

A turtle nestles herself in the sand to lay some 80 or more eggs just before 2009 starts. I am in Ghana, Beyin Beach near the border with Ivory Coast. One month of travel ahead of me. Visiting friends and getting a feeling with the region for workpurposes as well. I start in Ghana.
The arrival at the airport is though. I didnot have a visa yet which created a few hours of waiting and listening to an angry immigration officer. The years of travel and work in Africa have given me the patience that I do need in the very same continent as well. So I sit and wait and let the officer feel important. Ofcourse he is right. Imagine someone from Ghana arriving at Schiphol without a visa. No excuses will be accepted, no patience will help. Just return to Ghana will be the message. So after the first few sweaty hours in the immigration office I step outside in the dark night in Accra and meet with Baba Issa, a taxidriver my friends work a lot with who will bring me to the guesthouse. I enjoy the drive through the still unknown Accra, let the wind touch my face, breath the air through the open car window. I feel happy.
The next day Baba Issa picks me up in the morning to go to the busstation to get a bus to Takoradi towards the west of Ghana, at the coast. The station is very well organised. I first buy a ticket. Then weigh my luggage that is then put together with the other big bags and suitcases. Then I am told to sit and wait. The bus arrives just a few minutes too late. As we are about the enter, we are told that there is no airconditioning in the bus and since we paid for an airconditioned bus we are asked to change our tickets and get a reduction. It causes some more delay but that doesnot matter. I prefer natural airconditioning anyway: just open the windows. One hour later we leave. The road is very good and the views are great. Very green and lush and when we pass through Cape Coast the ocean shows herself. When I arrive in Takoradi my friend comes to pick me up. We eat a sandwich and continue our way through rubber plantations and forests of palmtrees. It is raining a little bit which makes the air smell really nice and the area looks even more green. We leave the tarmac road and drive the last part to Beyin on a dust road. After a long journey I am happy to be able to touch the ocean water with my feet. The beach looks endless, the palmtrees tall. It is great to be here.