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Camp and day’s information: Wednesday, 4th June 2003

Camp Place

End of Day
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Today’s Distance

Cumulative Distance




Lome, Robinson's Plage

N06° 09.045
E01° 17.983




Hot and humid

Cereal. Bread, cheese, tomato. Watermelon. Lamb, pasta, peas, gravy.

We were up at 05h30 - before the sun, but not before Francis and Rafa.  They had just come to check on us and were pleased to see we hadn't been carried away by the mosquitoes.  We gave them each 2000cedis and they were very pleased.  They 'led' us back along our path and off we went...  We had a pit stop shortly afterwards and washed our faces and cleaned our teeth.  The road down to Keta was good tar and we arrived there pretty quickly. 

We made our way through Keta, past Fort Prinzenstein which was dilapidated and derelict, particularly compared to some of the other slave trade forts.

We found our way onto the beach track and we stopped to have a look at the beach and watch the fisherman in the distance fixing their nets.  The track was great and ran really close to the tide line.

We passed a few 'taxis' going the opposite way and saw quite a few fisherman repairing nets and generally preparing for the day, plus some others who were catching crabs.  At the end of the track is an eroded piece of tar, where a queue of 'taxis' was waiting to take passengers down to Keta.  We stopped and bought bread and all the drivers gathered round to look at Nyathi!

The villages en route to Denu and the border were remarkably neat and clean and we could help but noticing how many different high schools there were, by all the different uniforms.  The scenery was also very picturesque.

The border crossing was hassle free, but very complicated, with different offices and functions all over the place.  Amina 'volunteered' her services and it definitely made everything easier as she showed us where to go, what to do next, where to park and the officials all knew her (she also wore a blue overcoat with a number printed on the back, as did the 'porters').  At the end however, she was not very impressed with the $6 (originally $4) we offered her.  She wanted $20! We explained that for an hour's work, at $5 she was receiving more than what most people earn in a day, maybe two.  A local guy I had been briefly chatting to about 'Bafana Bafana' came over to see why she wasn't happy and he understood our argument and also added in that as South Africans, we didn't have as much money as Europeans.  We believe $6 was more than enough and she waved us goodbye, with a smile anyway.

Once in Lome we headed straight for Robinson's Plage to see if Glen and Pat had left us a message and they were still there!  It was great to see them again and we spent a lazy day under the pergola and swimming in the sea.  They have a 'zoo' here which is just awful.  There are baboons in cages (one of which is no more than one square metre in size, so the baboon has to walk in circles)!  They also have a sea turtle in the same enclosure as a fresh water crocodile (which has had a nibble on her legs) as well as a variety of other Vervet monkeys both caged and on the loose.  They also have two 'almost labrador' dogs and the bitch has got some beautiful puppies.  One of the puppies is particularly lively and Michael and I are very tempted to take her.  We have told them we'd like to speak to the owners about it.

We went to visit Mark and Jenny Rye on the Mercy Ship - Anastasis.

It was really eye-opening.  We had dinner in their canteen which was delicious and then they took us on a grand tour.  We went through the hospital ward first, which  can take up to 40 patients.  They have engineered a pulley system to lift post operative patient on a body board from the theatre floor down a steep descent to the ward.  The space in the ward is pretty tight and patients ranged from young children to adults.  Then it was off to the engine room where we spent quite a lot of time, much to the delight of the boys who had to look at all the bits and pieces and asked the ship engineers loads of questions.

Jenny was bleeped and had to go off to the ward and Mark took us to the school, where he is principal.  They have children from one year to eighteen years old.  It was really interesting and we showed Mark the site on the internet!  Then we relaxed in their cabin which was cosy and really homely and shared their Cadbury's chocolate with them.  I was so impressed by both Jenny and Mark's dedication and the whole way in which the Mercy Ship is organised to provide such amazing results for the local population.

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