Sometimes I have moments in time when the world seems to freeze and I wonder how on earth I ended up in that particular situation. Last Friday night I was walking the streets of Accra hand in hand with a hotel manager helping me to look for somewhere to sleep for the night. While I realize that sounds rather sketchy I should back up and explain. Friday I spontaneously decided to go into Accra and do some research for graduate school. I brought along a list of recommended hostels/hotels in the area I would be for the evening. I was at the internet café for a few hours researching schools when I realized it was already 8:00pm. So I packed up and went outside to hail at taxi to the YMCA (yes ladies and gentlemen, there is a YMCA in Ghana!). Turns out it is not a real popular place, and the taxi driver had trouble finding it. When he finally dropped me off there, I was told it was only for men. Oops. The information had failed to state as much. Oh well, it looked sketch anyways.
Plan B was a hotel not far away that was rather cheap and reportedly clean. Upon arrival I was informed it was all full. By this time it is almost 9pm, and I was started to worry a bit. Apparently the hotel manager was also concerned because he took my hand and told me he would walk me to a few nearby hotels to see if they had vacancy. Ghanaians are rather hospitable, and I was thankful for his willingness to help me. IN fact, he spent almost two full hours helping me look for a place to sleep for the night. We checked several nearby hotels, and took a taxi to one a bit father out: all were full. Who would have guessed that cheap no-name type hotels would all be full on a regular weekend?? I had stayed somewhere a few weeks before with no problem, but it was already closed for reception at that time of night. I had the option of some expensive places not too far away, but ended up accepting the manager’s offer to have me sleep with his sister.
I had to go and get something to eat, as I had not had lunch or dinner yet that day, and then promised to be back soon. By the time I returned the sister, whom I had never spoken to, was already asleep. So, he banged loudly on her door, woke her and her roommate up, and rolled her over to make room for me. -She is probably a few years older than I am, and was sleeping on mattress that barely resembled its original form. There was no sheet on it, and no padding left to speak of. He did bring me a cloth thankfully. So, I dropped into bed completely worn out well past midnight. When I woke the next morning around 6 next to a stranger it felt rather strange. I was greeted by a “Good morning obruni.” The situation struck me as rather funny at this point. I had never spoken to either of these ladies before and I shared the bed with them. I was rather thankful for it though.
While some might call it stupid or naive to think I could find a place to sleep without planning, I prefer to think of it as another lesson in Ghanaian hospitality.