I’m with that man; ask him.

Submitted by Katie Peacock, a missionary with Wycliffe, working in Ghana and Canada on bible translations.

 

After finishing the consultant check of Psalms in Tamale, Foster took the motorcycle back down the east side of Ghana through Yendi to Nkonya. It took him six and a half hours.

Emmanuel and I took public transit to Accra, picked up our truck and drove to Nkonya. It took us a day and a half to reach home.

That morning, before we left the house, I handed the bus tickets and money for taxis to Emmanuel and said, “You take care of it.” It made sense. He’s taken transport many times from Tamale to Nkonya over the years and negotiates better taxi fares. I was just along for the ride.

We took a taxi to the bus office and arrived in good time at 7:00 a.m. We sat on the benches provided – watching the lorry park come awake. Someone was sweeping trash left by a departing bus into a designated garbage area. Venders circulated with trays on their heads, or bags over their shoulders offering cold drinks, biscuits, ear buds, boiled eggs, men’s belts. A car was being washed with water dipped from an elderly ice chest.

We waited. Finally the bus office opened, but all was not well. The bus we were expecting to board had been sideswiped by an articulated truck on its way to town. They were planning to bring in a replacement bus from Bolgatanga – it should be there by 9:30, 10:00 or perhaps 11:00 a.m. Getting a refund was problematic. So was getting into Accra late at night. I said, “Whatever you decide is good with me.” Emmanuel left me with the bags and made a circuit to see if any other buses were still loading for Accra. Nope. They had all left. We sat awhile longer. More discussion with the man at the bus office. Turned out that yes, a replacement bus was coming, but it they would turn it into a night bus and it wouldn’t leave until after 4:00 p.m. that afternoon. Hmmm – we had deliberately decided to take a day bus to minimize our chance of encountering armed robbers at night.

Another traveler in the same predicament suggested that we take one bus to Kumasi, and another from there to Accra. I said, “Whatever you think is best.” The proprietor agreed to refund our money. Off we went to where vehicles were loading for Kumasi, A large bus was loading but had no seats left, a small “oven bus” was dismissed as being likely to “over speed,” and Emmanuel and our fellow traveler settled on a nineteen seater. When drivers and ticket sellers approached me I just said, “I’m with that man, ask him.”

It was an interesting bus, that actually managed to sit twenty-four, played Nigerian movies complete with exorcisms and shouting preachers on a next to invisible screen, and had zip leg room.

My knees were most unhappy by the time we pulled into Kumasi five hours later. I groaned inwardly – only half-way. We dismounted. It was a short hike to a taxi rank, and a colourful ride through congested central Kumasi to the Accra station.

But what to my wondering eyes did appear? A curtained, air-conditioned bus with comfortable red-white-and-blue, pseudo-American flag themed seats, and generous leg room. Also a Rambo movie spewing bullets, blood and body parts. Okay – the bus didn’t leave the station for almost two hours, but my knees were in seventh heaven the whole wait. As we finally pulled out, the movie screen blinked off. A woman rose, prayed for us and the journey ahead and then proceeded to preach loudly in Twi, just at my seat level, for the next half hour – to a totally quiet and attentive busload of passengers. Quite the switch from Rambo. Only in Ghana, thought I.

Ghanaian movies subtitled in English followed, and, as we finally pulled into Accra, sometime after 10:00 p.m., Christian Twi music videos wound up the day. In the dark, Accra seemed to go on for ever and there were many stops for passengers to drop down. I didn’t worry about where to get off though. After all, I was with Emmanuel.

It was after 11:00 p.m. when we finally alighted at “the circle”; a notoriously unsafe place to be at that time of night. We were immediately mobbed by a small crowd of taxi drivers offering rides; I just repeated my formula, “I’m with that man, ask him.”

Emmanuel was worried about being robbed and dumped. Me?  I didn’t feel anxious in the least. Indeed, he engaged a driver who hadn’t been pushing or forcing his services, and we were delivered safely to our guesthouse across town for a fair price.

The next day I thought about it. If I could spend a whole day in travel, on a route I didn’t know, in cultural situations where I didn’t speak the local language, feeling totally unstressed because I had put the arrangements into the hands of a person I trusted, shouldn’t I do that on a more general and ongoing basis with God?

“I’m with that man, ask him.”

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