The plan was to leave Accra at 1300 and get to Cape Coast around 1500, after all it was a 1.5 hour ride, so we will give it a half hour leeway just to be sure. And we arrived at the bus station an hour early just to be sure we had enough time. We figured that we were well prepared for anything, but it seems we didn’t consider a very important factor: Africa time.
First of all, let me introduce you to the group I’m currently traveling with, I realized that, in my few blog posts thus far, (sorry about that) I didn’t discuss my friends much, and I’m learning how important they are to the records and will therefore include them in adventures more. My “Ghana group” has affectionately named themselves Luxzimcanus, it’s a mash-up of the countries each one of us is from: Leo is from Luxembourg, Lulu is from Zimbabwe, Rebecca is from Canada, and I’m, as you know, American!
Now, one might think we would have a home-continent advantage with Lulu, but since she has been at university in New York for the past four years we will ignore the lack of African time consideration.
When we arrived at the bus station, we were told that they need to see if the bus is still coming,they’ll let us know in a bit, so we waited. An hour later, it was confirmed the there will still be a bus, it will be here in 30 minutes, so we bought tickets, and then waited and waited. Two hours later the bus camel (sic. I’m pretty sure she means, “the bus came”, but I like the idea of bus camels, it’s very Dr. Seuss-esque. And this is Africa, so maybe…) and then needed to get fuel, (which they mentioned will take ten minutes), and thirty minutes later we got on. When we finally got going, it was rush hour, which in Ghana means more waiting. Seven hours, two loaves of bread and three bags of plantains traded for out the window, and lots if laughter later, we pulled into Cape Coast. A 1.5 hour journey became a day long activity, welcome to Africa time!
The lesson today was to take off my watch, and Ghana could not have been a more incredible country because of it!
Without a watch, you find yourself talking for hours in end with locals, heading to a local families house for dinner, playing soccer on the beach with kids, and napping in a hammock in the sun. Exploring the old slave castle takes you back in time, while the number of mangoes and coconuts eaten measure present time. All night church confuses your body’s internal time and the only thing you can use to get back on track is the daily rains this time of year and the smell of frying plantains around noon. The rainforest defies clocks as the understory is permanently dark from the dense canopy, and the animals lurk about all hours of the all. Africa time is a time zone far off the maps, and it’s one the western world neglects. So, take your watch off every once in a while, or turn your phone off if watches are too outdated, and enjoy Africa time.
(Just don’t forget to put it back on before your next class, especially if it’s exam week! : ) )