I know this is a little late but hopefully I have not lost any readers before I have even started! Once this first blog is written, I will circulate the blog and the blog web address through facebook and for those slightly older (but no less virile!) readers it will be passed on from my mother's email address book.
Those of you who know me are aware of my rather iffy spelling and grammar but hopefully with the wonders of spell-check this should not be too much of a problem. Any word I don't know, are un-spell-checkable or in a local dialect, I will spell out fur-net-ik-lee!
As soon as I have a postal address I will be expecting letters and packages! Apparently the post takes between 3-6 weeks in Ghanaian time (I will be discussing this later!) but I promise that any letter received will get a letter in return!
Finally, last time I went travelling I started with emails for friends and a separate one for family and adults. This did not last long as Capt Cat was determined to read the unsuitable one on the proviso that nothing could shock her. I will be sharing more about my life, bowel movements, weird experiences, nudity, bad language (with letters %$£ out to get through those pesky work filters) and other bits and bobs than some of you may not be comfortable with. (I know that my first three blogs are going to contain musings on condoms, nicknames for female genitalia and a story about a religious man fornicating with a pregnant sheep). If this is out of your comfort zone or you would prefer to remember the sweet, innocent boy I used to be, it may be a good idea to stop now and ask my mum for occasional updates. If you fall into any other category, please read on!
After numerous farewells and goodbyes I suddenly found myself still furiously packing in the car park of Heathrow 2 hours before my flight. While part of the blame could be put at my door for not being organised enough, a significant amount could be left at the feet of my mother. Apparently in her mind in Ghana it's impossible to find toothpaste, paper, shampoo, bug spray, chicken oxo cubes, clothes, locks, vitamins, any first aid kits, books, torches, pens, stickers, rope, tape and hundreds of other bits and bobs, meaning I had to take three of everything, ("When you're too ill to move, the powers cut out, your being mauled by a honey badger and your mud hut collapses you will be glad I made you pack all of this" was the general response to me querying any of this). Combine this will me supposedly being a missionary meant that I was allowed 48 kg of luggage plus hand luggage, a laptop and a motorcycle helmet, which meant I was carrying over 2/3s of my body weight in luggage.
After being bang on with my 48 kgs (the quick luggage switcharoo in the Heathrow car park had worked a treat!) and a quick goodbye I went through customs, brought a Sudoku book, some haribo (that I am now saving for a special occasion) and a newspaper and headed to my gate. As it turns out VSO people are pretty inconspicuous. They are the large group of white people holding motorcycle helmets, talking loudly and giggling constantly. There were about 10 of us on the flight and apart from someone being violently sick 5 rows in front of me it was an uneventful journey except for the person sitting next to me, who turned out to be a member of the foreign office, telling me that they generally considered Accra (the capital of Ghana) to be safer than London.
After a small panic I found my yellow fever certificate and was through to immigration. This took ages although I amused myself by reading a poster saying that 'sexual deviants and paedophiles needed to kindly take their practices elsewhere' and gave a ten point plan on how to do this in some very polite language. I will try and get a picture of the poster next time I have to come through customs. We were picked up at the airport by some VSO reps and then sped back to the hotel and into bed for some well earned rest.
Finally: homework! My rubbish pun on Ghana is not a great name for a blog. I will be taking suggestions for good blog names from anyone who wants to take part. Would prefer witty, punny to filth but could go with either! A surprise prize for the one I choose (on top of the honour of naming my blog!)