I could barely conceal my glee as we went down the stairs together. QS thought it was a shock and a shame, like he did about everything in Ghana that went wrong. Like he did that night as he drove Kingsley and me back from IRNR when the wild students from Katanga Hall walked naked through the compound; mooning and waggling their private parts in his car beam.
“These guys are animals,” he kept repeating.
Kingsley tried to defend them (him being based in Katanga Hall himself). “They are just having fun”
“No, that isn’t acceptable behaviours. If I was the Vice Chancellor I would expel them all, no questions asked” QS went on. “This is what is wrong with this country.”
Thank you , Oware, the only thing in Ghana that kept me alive. The only relaxation I got during my stay, the only time I felt challenged, the only time I felt part of the community. And all down to a bunch of beans and twelve holes gouged into a piece of wood.
The day after I retrieved my passport, I was to head for Accra. Even now the inertia of Kumasi was trying to drag me down. I was supposed to go with QS. Instead he was delayed by a meeting. I waited and waited. I was all packed, my suitcase was in the office waiting to go. And still I waited. Various people popped into the Institute and said “Are you still here”. Eventually, QS told me to take a driver with the black pickup and at last I was on my way, we headed east and south. I was looking forward to meeting up with David Poston, the blacksmith consultant who had become a good dining colleague during those distant days when I first arrived in Ghana. The relief of finding a friendly face who I could talk to kept me going all the way on the journey down. I got into the North Ridge Hotel, to the curious little reception area with its wooden features, and found a message from David – “Sorry Alan, been called down to Cape Coast for a few days and won’t be back till your gone.” I was gutted. I now faced another three days in Accra with no-one to let off steam to. I dejectedly went into the dining room and looked up at another NRI colleague who had just arrived that day. I have never been more grateful to meet a fellow colleague anywhere. Lawrence Kenyon, a small, quietly spoken man, was a saviour for the rest of that week, he heard me off-load my frustrations of the past few weeks, he lent me books to read, he had access to an ODA car, which meant we could go around the restaurants in the Cantonments district. I was back amongst the living.