Thursday, 21 April 2011


I think we have had enough of motorbikes for a while and my trips to the Post Office and Bank today were more entertaining!

My wonderful sister Ros sent me a parcel of M&S summer clothes a month ago. On Monday I had a note in the PO Box to tell me I had to collect it from Wa Post Office during one of 2 short windows of time in the week. I went this afternoon. Having paid 3 Cedis for the privilege of collecting my own parcel I sat for ages as the Customs Officer needed to check it. 5 minutes before the window closed she appeared, probably quite young, mid 20s, in a tight official blue uniform that she was bursting out of from every seam. She was chewing gum so audibly that I imagined they could hear it outside. I was called into the Postmasters Office where all 4 of the people in there were holding loud mobile phone conversations. I sat down on a sofa and waited patiently. There were 2 of the most enormous safes on one side, which when opened were packed with packages.

The Postmaster pulled one out randomly and it happened to be mine. The Customs Officer gestured to me to open it. She then proceeded to spend 20 minutes with a calculator and a receipt book. Eventually, she asked me for 55 Peshwas (25p) which was tax, apparently. I gave it to her and a few moments later she gave most of it back. I left with my parcel finally after an hour and a half. Later, I bumped into her in the market and wondered how she was managing the mathematics of shopping. Clearly, the Ghana Education Service needs help.

My next stop was the bank, to see if my ATM card was ready, 6 weeks after opening the account. It was found eventually and I was handed the little envelope with the PIN number. Yes, I could use it straight away! Outside the branch my card was immediately swallowed by the ATM. CARD NOT ON FILE. Back inside I needed to fill in a form and they will text me in a month when the card is retrieved. I did manage to withdraw some cash with a cheque that required 4 signatures! Do I look that suspicious? At the counter the cashier surprised me by asking when I was next going to Bolgatanga. I must have looked confused until he told me he'd seen me there last week!

I learn new things every day. Some of today's wisdom was.........I can't hide here at all; Ghana is still not ready for technology and the teaching of mathematics here leaves a lot to be desired.
The clothes fit perfectly and are lovely. Thank you very much, Ros!

Another thing I have learned this week...........if packages have a customs label that says "Ladies Sanitary Goods" no value,  they come straight to my PO Box in Nadowli  !!  A tip I was given and it works. The Wa PO experience was not to be missed though!

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