On Monday, after having the difficult run on Saturday, Tomas and I were organizing the Accra run. Since we figured the Accra hashers should be up to a longer than normal run, we made it a more difficult challenge than normal. But to keep everyone happy, we included a beer stop, meaning Tomas and I DIDN’T get lynched afterwards.
Of the party we had afterwards, I barely remember anything. I woke up the next day with five bite marks in my shoulder and somebody told me that at the restaurant we went to afterwards I had been banging my head on the table vigorously. Why is anybody’s guess. However, since I had stopped drinking at ten in the evening, by the time I went to bed at 4am I was almost sober again.
Only one night to go…
And then it was my last day in Ghana. Due to unforeseen financial difficulties, I wasn’t going to travel back to Europe overland, nor was I going to fly back to America. In no less then 24 hours after waking up on Tuesday, I would be welcomed at Schiphol airport by both my girlfriend and my mother. It was finally over.
I spent the last day saying good-bye to several people, buying some presents for the folks back home and finishing all the cash I still had left, which wasn’t much, for that matter. I had lunch with a group of people from JoyFM, who gave me a very nice shirt as a present. With JoyFM, most of it had worked out reasonably well, in the end. Although their SRP still hadn’t really taken off, the system I had built for them was very positively received by their journalists, who now could upload news items as soon as they had them on paper. And they were actually using it by the time I left for Holland.
We finished the day at the ‘Aerostar’, a not-so-decent bar next to the airport, however convenient, since you can hear the airport announcements when waiting at the bar. Quite a couple of the friends we had gained during our stay in Accra had showed up and, when the final call for our flight finally came, it was very hard saying good-bye. If I would have had a choice, I think I would have stayed. Our plane was waiting.
3… 2… 1…
The trip was rather uneventful. The extra adrenaline in my body made it very easy to stay awake during the nightly flight, so not only did I get to see ‘The Family Man’, with Nicholas Cage, also did we get to watch the terrible ‘Charlies Angels’. After a mediocre breakfast, at 6.02am, we left the airplane. After saying good-bye to the geeks too, for a mere five minutes I felt pleasantly cool. Then I realized it was downright cold! Just 15 minutes after leaving the plane, I had already picked up my luggage and was hugging my girlfriend. Four months of traveling had just ended.
The three things that struck me the most on my first day back in Holland were the cold, the quiet on the streets (Accra is very noisy) and the colors on the streets and in the buildings (buildings in Ghana are generally brown, gray and dust-covered, where as people wear very colorful clothes, as opposed to Holland).
Readjusting was relatively easy, although I was being helped by my first four evenings back in Holland being parties with friends. It is difficult to make a good assessment of what changed in me, so shortly after returning from such an eventful trip and wonderful learning experience. For sure, I matured, am able to view things in a much better perspective and am wiser. What, however, it means for my near and far future, I do not yet know. What should I start doing? What, shall I choose, should my future consist of. What, as a matter of fact, do I want…?