Monday, August 5, 2013

TRAVEL FUN

Traveling to Ghana can requires several personal attributes to make the trip successful. Flexibility, perseverance, accommodation, and a sense of humor are essential. Most years, these attributes come into play once we arrive in Accra and Sekondi. This year, though, all attributes came into play even before we left Boston!

Packing the bus for Sekondi

Scheduled to depart Boston on Friday evening, we received news that afternoon that our flight had been cancelled. Jen Morton and Trisha Mason were immediately on the phones to see what could be done. It was a no-go for Friday, though. So, the decision was made to get everyone to Boston by 11:00 am Saturday. Jen met most of that afternoon with airlines gate personnel, and we were finally told that we would be on a 6:15 flight from Boston to Paris, France. We scrambled to get the luggage weighed and distributed, as we had sixty pieces of luggage for the twenty-five in our group. We raced to the Air France ticket counter and in the nick of time we were all checked through to Ghana, with boarding passes in hand. I don’t think the ticket agents were too used to checking in bundles of walkers, sets of wheelchairs, and bag after bag of medical equipment.

Once in Paris, we had to split up for the flight to our next destination – beautiful Dubai! Now, if you majored in Geography in college you will know that Dubai is not on the way to Ghana from Paris. To get to Dubai, ten of us took a 12:30 (local time) flight out of Paris on Air France, while the other fifteen took an Emerites flight from Paris, departing two hours later. So the smaller group had a seven-hour layover in Paris, and the larger group had a nine hours in Paris.

This larger group took advantage of all this time to leave the airport and visit Notre Dame Cathedral and Louvre. With all this, everyone made it to the gate on time, and we all met in Dubai later that night at 10:00 pm or midnight. The layover in Dubai was another 7 ½ or 9 ½ hours, depending on when we arrived.

The flight to Ghana departed at 7:30 pm local time and was an 7½ hour flight. Apparently, the pilot decided to follow the coast all the way around Africa instead of cutting straight across the continent. We eventually arrived at our chosen destination – Accra, Ghana – at noon local time. Following our five-hour drive to Sekondi, we were definitely ready for dinner and an evening of settling into our rooms Monday night.

The group has remained positive and focused ready to start clinic first thing in the morning

Dennis Leighton

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