Healthy Soul

Abidjan and Accra still elude me!

I was at the Ghanaian Embassy when it opened on the morning after arriving in Monrovia. Checking my passport the representative said I was only eligible for an in-transit visa because I had neither a resident permit nor a re-entry permit for Liberia.

The realization hit hard, I was an undocumented “alien” in Liberia! I covered the two blocks between the Ghanaian Embassy and Tubman University’s Monrovia office as if Usain Bolt and Yohan Blake were chasing me. Immediately the necessary paperwork was filed and for USD$50.00 each I now have the permits. Whew!

Iona Thomas, Patricia Jones and I went sight seeing around Monrovia. In Congo Town we asked for a tour of the Palm Springs Resort. The view from the fourth floor balcony was worth the  USD$200.00 per night room rate.

Iona Thomas, Patricia Jones and I went sight seeing around Monrovia. In Congo Town we asked for a tour of the Palm Springs Resort. The view from the fourth floor balcony was worth the USD$200.00 per night room rate.

Exhausted from all that emotional roller-coaster, I kept nodding off when going from place to place with colleagues Massa, Iona, and Patricia. Finally Iona, the nurse, who had been asking all day if I was okay insisted that I go to the nearest clinic for a checkup.

It was a cool rainy day, but the sweat was oozing out of my pores. I took the blood test for malaria. The result said 3+. I didn’t know what it meant, because I also saw negative on the same line. Massa exclaimed, “Oh my goodness! You have to get a prescription for the medicine right now.”

Before succumbing to the malaria I went shopping for traditional African clothing. In the Randall & Benson Streets section of town the streets are lined with dress shops staffed by tailors - men, each with his own sewing machine ready to make any alterations needed.

Before succumbing to the malaria I went shopping for traditional African clothing. In the Randall & Benson Streets section of town the streets are lined with dress shops staffed by tailors - men, each with his own sewing machine ready to make any alterations needed.

Mine was a severe case – most people test at 1+. Twenty four yellow tablets to be taken four at a time morning and evening for three days and twenty blue and white tablets to be taken one at a time morning and evening for ten days. Sleep claimed my body for twenty of every twenty-four hours for the next three days. So much for visiting Accra, Ghana!

Compound of the Chinese Embassy seen from the fourth floor balcony of the Palm Springs Resort.

Compound of the Chinese Embassy seen from the fourth floor balcony of the Palm Springs Resort.

Flying from Monrovia to Accra was Plan B after Plan A, the road trip from Harper to Cote d’Ivoire and then to Ghana had to be quickly scrapped. Tragically, nine members of an UN Peacekeeping troop were murdered in one of the towns on the Liberian-Ivorian border. The entire border was closed. The first stop on the road trip would have been San Pedro, formerly part of Maryland County, known then as Maryland-in-Africa, before being incorporated into Liberia.

In the rainy season unpaved road become muddy and crater like pot holes are formed. Here a schoolbus is tuck in the slush. After unloading all the passengers it is pulled out by the truck. No AAA here.

In the rainy season unpaved road become muddy and crater like pot holes are formed. Here, on the road to Monrovia, a schoolbus is stuck in the slush. After unloading all the passengers it is pulled out by the truck. No auto clubs or roadside service here.

Other stops would be Abidjan and Yamoussoukro, home to Our Lady of Peace, the world’s largest Basilica, said to be built with US$300 million of then President Felix Houphouet-Boigny’s personal funds. Finally, in Accra I would visit with my friend Ameliah and her son Kofi.

Plan B required taking the 14 hour road trip to Monrovia, getting that visa to Ghana and purchasing the $350.00 round trip ticket. We are now in the rainy season that makes Liberia the country with 163 inches of rainfall per year, so what would be considered passable roads are now muddy. Vehicles get stuck and/or spin into skids as if traveling on slushy, snowy roads.

Mask in the lobby of the Palm Springs Resort.

Mask in the lobby of the Palm Springs Resort.

I had visions of flitting from one country to the next among the sixteen countries of the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) while living in Liberia. I knew I needed visas since I would be traveling on a USA, not an ECOWAS passport. I did not reckon on being an undocumented “alien”. I definitely didn’t plan on having malaria – my 90 day supply ran out and foolishly, I neglected to do anything about it.

I was so happy to see this cosmos. It survived in the soil and resisted the deathsteps of all the security guards who walked over and through my garden. None of the sunflower or other cosmos seeds survived.

I was so happy to see this cosmos when I returned home. It survived in the sandy soil and resisted the crushing steps of all the security guards who walked over and through my garden. None of the sunflower or other cosmos seeds survived.

Well, I’m back in Harper – malaria free and a documented resident who can now leave and return to Liberia. All is well that ends well.

 

5 Comments

  1. Nicely done.

  2. 7/22/12

    Hello Jennifer! I hope you have recovered from the Monrovian trip. My goodness what a trip! I have recently filled out the application for a passport to visit a friend in Accra, Ghana. I have planned my visit in December, 2012. I have been told by my friend that all I need is a passport.
    I would also love to visit another friend in Monrovia, Liberia. I would, of course, fly from Accra to Monrovia. My dear friend in Monrovia stated that I would just need my passport. I will be spending the majority of my vacation in Monrovia…I plan to stay there for about 4-1/2 weeks. So, I am not sure if I will be checked at both airports for visa’s. I have googled / search for this answer and all I am getting is conflicting answers.
    Since you are an avid traveler, and I am not, can you please help me with this? Will I need a visa for both countries or are my friends correct and all I need is just a passport?

    • Hi there Susan – thanks for reading and sharing your comments. I really appreciate your interest. I recommend talking with someone at each embassy regarding visa requirements as the websites are not always updated regularly. I do believe you will need a visa for each country. Please let me know when you get to Monrovia. Be sure to get your yellow fever innoculation. Safe and exciting travels!

  3. What a crazy experience! I can only imagine the panic of realizing that you’re not in a Country under the right circumstances. I’m glad that you were able to resolve it quickly. From watching movies, I would have expected a lot more drama!

    Too bad that your trip didn’t go as planned and that you missed out on some of the things that you wanted to do. Hopefully, you’ll have plenty of chances to try again!

www.comopreparar.org www.todoensalud.info www.reparaciondepc.info www.seoposicionamiento.info www.empresaseo.info www.seogog.info www.reparaciondeordenador.info www.mijardin.net www.tengounsecreto.net www.tengounsecreto.in www.altaenbuscadores.cl www.noms.cl www.registrarmarca.us www.registrodedominios.in www.abogadodemarcas.in www.busquedademarcas.info www.peliculas3d.info www.productoraaudiovisual.org www.contactofarkas.com www.gatoempresario.com www.echohostore.com www.jug.com www.jugalo.com www.kartaago.com www.porlachucha.com www.blackhat.cl www.blackhatseo.cl www.antidepresivonatural.com