Unfortunately, it turned into one of the scariest nights ever in Africa. On the way to another bar, a lorry drove past Sam’s car, packed with people. Something hit the window next to her and the glass shattered. After we recovered from the initial shock, Sam drove off to find the lorry. She seemed to intuitively know where it was heading, a small lorry park next to the entrance of UST. We stopped in the badly lit place and she approached a group of people next to a brazier. She asked whether a lorry had come in, and then started accusing people of covering up for them, and that they knew why she was asking. She was quite drunk, so was I, and the rashness of our bold actions was beginning to come home to me. The group of people that surrounded us looked threatening in the dark, but I suppose they were mainly inquisitive. Sam shouted several times and started being abusive. Three young well-dressed guys tried to calm her and offered to go looking for the lorry. I remember little of our drive through some reasonable looking housing estates, apart from the terrible effect of the road on Sam’s car’s tiny springs. At one point we approached a lorry, which may or may not have been the one which had driven past us, and some more questions were asked, with little conclusion. At this point one of the guys disappeared, and we drove on with the others back to the lorry park. As we stopped, Sam was going to offer the guys a few Cedis for their trouble. She had placed her purse in between my and her seat. It was not there. She was incensed and started accusing the two guys who had helped us of being in collusion. She thought it must be the third guy. The two men, hurt at being accused of stealing, agreed to go and find the men, so off we drove again into the houses. We never found them. In the end Sam tired and told the guys to get out. Acrimoniously, they agreed, they still felt angry that they were being accused, but realised Sam was in no state to be reasoned with. We drove back into the campus, shards of glass glistening in the occasional street light. It was a depressing end to what had been a reasonable night. I could offer no solace to Sam, and indeed we never had an explanation for what happened. Had she left the wallet at the bar, had those two guys been genuine, had the third anything to do with the incident? We just never knew. It was just a sorry mess.
The only time I went further than a few miles from Kumasi was one holiday Monday. To escape from the city was more difficult than I could ever imagine. Before setting off for Ghana, I had talked to a woman I knew in the UK who had spent some time in Ghana working at the Cocoa Research Institute and had had a fabulous time. She gave me the name of a lecturer in UST’s Agriculture Department that she had become good friends with, and after a few days of being in Ghana, I went over to the Department to look him up. Abulla was not there, he was at the agricultural research station. On asking where that was, I was told it was miles away. I left a message in his pigeon hole. A few days later, I went into Kumasi for a quick shop and on my return was told this Abulla had called around. I went over to Agriculture but again missed him. It took four more back and forths and about two more weeks before I finally met him, he poked his face around the door of my office in IRNR. We chatted for a short while before he told me he would be away for a week. But then we decided that when it was the holiday, he would take me with his family to Lake Bosumtwi. About twenty miles south east of Kumasi, this lake appeared completely round on all maps. It was hardly surprising – it was formed by a huge meteorite that threw up a set of hills around the crater. I was picked up early in the morning and sat around the family house for what seemed like an age while Abulla’s wife prepared gargantuan amounts of food. Abulla had two very young daughters who kept wandering in and out showing me their toys.