22 Mar

The Africa Exchange and Leadership Development Seminar (AfroXLDS) 2010 is held in Togo.
I was chosen as one of the facilitators and for weeks I have been looking forward to the Trip and the experience.
Finally coming to Westafrica, seeing the home of my Togolese friends from IC, using my french again, inspiring and training the next generations of Leaders.

3 days of preparation and 7 days of Agenda were planned for this amazing conference.

After a major communication breakdown with our sponsoring airline, I realized on Friday morning that there is not only not a flight reserved for me, but also the direct flight to Lomé (which leaves only 3 days a week) is full. I would reach Addis Abeba (Ethiopia) but then?

Left with the two options of flying to Lagos (Nigeria) or Accra (Ghana) instead I started investigations on how to reach Lome from there. In the afternoon the news were that neither of the countries issue visa on arrival. Trusting in the flight agent that the Addis-Lome flight would open up and I could change my ticket once in Ethiopia I booked a ticket to Accra.
I informed the AIESECers in Ghana and Togo about the flight and started praying.

24 hours after leaving the University of Nairobi I am seated in a university hostel in Lomé with a plate of Pasta and the other Organizers and Facis from Ghana, Togo, Cote d’Ivoire, Nigeria, Mexico, Poland, France, Uganda and India.

Lessons from a crazy trip:

1. The long rains allways come at night… when you are searching for a cab with loads of luggage.
2. Ethiopian Airlines does not issue tickets at the airport on Sundays
3. Ghana DOES issue visa on arrival
4. Zain can roam in Ghana, MTN not.
5. Mzungu is called differently in Ghana.
6. You can travel in a car from Accra to Lagos (for less than 30 Euros)
7. A Togolese who does not know English and a Ghanean who does not speak French can still communicate in Ewe.
8. P Square sounds even cooler, when you driving on the right side of the road.
9. The neighbour in the car will ask latest after 2 hours how you see the difference between black and white boyfriends.
10. The Togolese immigration office is on the beach, consists of a desk under an ironsheet roof and operates without electricty.
11. Bodaboda drivers in Lomé dont have speed governours and helmets.
12. East is not West!

7 Responses to “Westafrica!”

  1. Claudi March 22, 2010 at 3:15 pm #

    I like 🙂 Thanks for sharing especially your lessons!!!

  2. Sharon NJOKI NJOROGE March 22, 2010 at 5:29 pm #

    LOVE IT!! Adventures of Manu!! East is surely not West!! Welcome to West Africa!! And thank goodness for Zain!! And hahahah! difference between white and black boyfriends, for me at the Lagos airport I was told I have to open my mind to the possibility of marrying a Nigerian by the time I leave Nigeria(ie in 5 months)

  3. Moritz March 22, 2010 at 8:23 pm #

    I’m sure AfroXLDS will rock. I would’ve applied but do my last exams right now.. 😦
    Say hi to Vish from me and to Charah!
    And about 9: well, how DO you see the difference?
    about 10: Awesome, wanna see it 😀
    Hugs from cold Darmstadt,


    • manuinkenya March 23, 2010 at 5:32 pm #

      Vish says hi back… charah is coming tomorrow.

      Apart from the fact that I do not share my sex life with a whole bus of people, I had problems putting my answer into french (!) words…

      Will do my best to take a picture of it! crazy immigration procedure, trust me…

  4. Simon March 24, 2010 at 11:34 pm #

    hey Manu, haha thanks for your exciting report, I am currently in Accra and could still learn something! But we all use MTN here, they even call to Nigeria for the same money..
    Have fun on the conference, and visit us afterwards if you have time (LC CUC)!! 🙂


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