Tuesday, December 11, 2007

International Moving, Ghana Style

As our friends and families (and their poor, abused address books) are well aware, moving is a hobby with us (this current shift will be to our 14th home since 1978) but this particular move is a new experience for us...

After our books and kitchenware were packed up in boxes, almost everything else ended up being wrapped like packages in the red and white paper you can see everywhere...

The guys doing our packing were very typically Ghanaian- polite, careful-ish, and not only willing to take direction from us, but desperately in need of it.

This was a real departure for us- our many house packers in the U.S., and even the ones in Australia, were brisk and efficient and although they always comply with our suggestions/requests, they mostly wish we would dry up and blow away.

Not so here.

We were sought out frequently to give our opinions or instructions for a million different things, which took some getting used to after years of being trained by our U.S. movers to shut up and get out of their way. ;-)

As the day progressed, the house began to look more and more like this, everywhere you looked...

We kept them from packing the things we needed this week by putting that stuff in the "Off Limits" room, which was controlled chaos...

...and Duke spent the day looking for things to do and ways to help.

Because he is Duke.

Here he is, sweeping the dog hair off our bedroom floor in his "Boss and Mom Are Moving" clothes.

The big surprise was Elliot.

We brought him on the porch to meet the movers when they first showed up and he smelled their shoes and hands (remember, strange dogs are not generally a favorite of Ghanaians, so our movers were very brave and patient to deal with this), and then let them do their work without freaking out and barking at them.

As a matter of fact, quite often as we moved through the house, we would see Elliot getting a passing pat on the head from one of his new best friends as they went about their business.

Here he is, exhausted, taking a little breather next to one of his new pals...

Finally, all our stuff was boxed and bagged, wrapped and taped, and the container showed up.

Things were loaded into this container and will be taken to the port where they will be crated in plywood boxes and put into a Maersk sea container for shipment back to America.

Unless it falls overboard.

Which apparently happens with alarming frequency. Cross your fingers...

Here's the truck backing the container into our driveway (that's Stephen on the left and Mark on the right)...

and just a few minutes later, completely onto the property...

This was a sharp contrast to the container truck that delivered the same stuff to us in the spring of 2005.

On that day, the truck maneuvered for a good thirty minutes OUTSIDE our gate, gathering a knot of interested kibbitzers as it did.

Then it made roughly twenty attempts to back through the gate as each spectator gave advice and instructions (usually conflicting) to the accompaniment of a chorus of "Brah, brah, brah!" which is Twi for "come".

We thought, at the time, that they were saying "Blah, blah, blah." which was a great way to start our life in Ghana with a laugh.

So life in our little house in East Legon has come to an end, and we are living in a hotel this week, waiting for Cooper to finish his final exams.

It's the same hotel we lived in for six weeks waiting for the sea container to arrive from America, but in the time we have lived here it has changed ownership. With the new owners came a list of rules for the swimming pool, carefully painted on one of the signs we have come to love in this country for their clear, open instruction on so many aspects of life.

No pussyfooting language about "Intoxication"- just don't swim DRUNK, and by the way, don't spit OR BLOW YOUR NOSE into the pool.

I offer my sincere thanks for that particular instruction.

And instead of nattering about safety and liability, they point out right up front they won't be responsible for Death while using the pool. So there.

I'll post again before we make what are sure to be our tearful farewells to a swell country, and the people therein...

...in the meanwhile, be very very glad you don't have to move, and if you don't think it's so bad, please come to our house in the U.S. and help unpack. :-)