Wednesday, November 3, 2010

Some might call it stupidity...

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. 


  1. Think about how much that means though Chels. You shared a bed with complete strangers. And when morning came the first thing they said was 'hello', that's amazing. Those women teach an amazing lesson.

  2. you are right ryan. their morning greeting was not exactly heart-warming but nevertheless they were quite hospitable. i decided i should make some changes.