[ Techiman, Ghana ]
Warm regards and a hearty Ramadan Mubarak from Ghana. I’m a bit late to the party I know, but I wish all my Islamic friends a blessed and fruitful month. Last year I was riding through The Gambia for most of Ramadan, and it was a prominent part of my daily life; not so Ghana, which is overwhelmingly Christian. If I’m being honest, I’m sad about that–the degree of fellowship, especially in the evenings when breaking fast with new friends, was phenomenal.
Rather than enjoying the conviviality of Ramadan, this year’s festival begins with me mildly freaking out about the rapidly approaching expiration of my Ghanaian visa. To that end, I did some research yesterday (and begged you folks for feedback), subsequently deciding to extend. Or at least to attempt it.
Today I made the round-trip to Regional Immigration HQ in Sunyani, expecting to be stranded there for two days. (According to the interwebs, this extension process takes at least 48 hours—and as much as two weeks if one undertakes it at the national office in Accra.)
Uhhhh…nope. Not this time.
In what was easily the most pleasant bureaucratic encounter of my life, I received my stamped and extended passport in ONE HOUR. Not a typo. ONE HOUR. I spent about 15 minutes filling out a form, chatting with various officials about my trip, and showing them photos of the bike. The woman in charge asked if I could entertain myself for an hour, “so you don’t have to come back here tomorrow.” Ummmm…yes? Duh.
One hour later I had a 30-day extension mounted happily in my passport, and a noticeable reduction in stress. I am now officially welcome to stay in Ghana until June 14th. Thirty-eight days. Woot!
I snagged a couple of smartphone pics along the way, included here.
Ramadan Kareem to one and all,