Thursday, 3 January 2008

The Faith

While waiting for the Argentina thing to take shape, I’ve got the chance to go to Ghana to cover the African Nations Cup for the radio station.

I leave in just over two weeks. To get there I have to fly. My dislike of flying is submerged by the excitement about going to Africa for the first time.

I haven’t got enough time to go native and learn the linguistic inflections of rural folk.

And that makes me sad.

But I do have enough time to read the Bradt guide to Ghana as compiled by Philip Briggs.

Leafing through the guide maintains my sense of anticipation at Yellow fever pitch and makes the five jabs so far seem a mere bagatelle.

It was also steeling my resolve for the interaction with the Ghanaian embassy.

I wasn’t in the habit of leaving my passport anywhere other than under the floorboard behind the third cabinet on the right in the larder.

But I’ve had to deposit it at the visa section of the embassy. I paid 50 euros too and when I asked for some kind of receipt the visa chaps told me: “Just come back next week.”


Feeling all sceptical and uptight, I looked quizzically as I started to leave the room.

I turned to go back to the counter and insist on some kind of proof but a Ghanaian journalist who was helping someone with a visa said: “No this is how it works here.”

And placing his hand on his heart, added: “This is the African spirit….”

Trying to subvert the ethos could be construed as racist. And besides if the visa boys are running some kind passport selling scam, then they’re going to flog mine irrespective of whether I have a receipt or not.

So I’ve taken a leap of faith. And next Thursday will be the shining apotheosis of this stance.

I’ll either be revealed as hopelessly jejune or unfurled as a culturally savvy smoothie.

In preparation I’ve been back to my yoga class.

How many times until next week can I press thumb and forefinger together and exhale: “Om?”

Or should that be: “Um?”