After a 36h stop in Accra and a rather short night due to a party, departure alarm was set for 0530. It proved to be a bad idea to try travelling to Cote d'Ivoire with my 'little brother' Charles Sablah from Nima after only 3.5h sleep!
Grumpiness set in right at the beginning, particularly when a man on our VIP bus was spotted boarding after departing Kaneshie, a preacher! 7 long hours later incarcerated on 'religious' transport our arrival at Takoradi was over 2hours late. This was partly due to the fact our driver didn't seem to know how to get into 3rd gear, we crawled most of the way in 2nd with the engine groaning under my back seat!
Arriving at Elubo, the Ghanaian side of the border with Lampard, a driver I've been using for a few years; the hunt was on for a private Ivorian car. We were looking to hitchhike and get as close as possible to friends living in Bassam for the night. Lucky to spot someone with an empty car, he offered a lift despite being at work at the border. The Ghanaian border guards all remembered me, shook hands & asked why I wasn't staying for longer.
On our way between Elubo & Noe which was heavily blocked with trucks waiting to get through customs we exchanged pleasantries and chatted about all things Ivorian. Whilst crossing the bridge I made mention of the children that cross and a village I'm aware of ... He confirmed it all and the fact he's involved with trafficking .. Alarm bells were ringing, our conversation had been in French, he then asked Charles in Twi what I'm doing in Cote D'Ivoire, of course he'd not understood our conversation. It all became a little complicated!
Arrival at Noe, big welcomes from the border guards who I've built quite a rapport with over the last 2-3 years with this team ... Then to bump into a colleague who was also heading towards Abidjan with her young family for Christmas.
I'm now in CI puzzling how to move forward at the moment. Today is Sunday, tomorrow I'll probably be making a lot of calls in relation to our new 'friend' ...