My “must do” list for Friday included two key items: Get money. Spend money.
Naturally, the “spending” depended on the “getting.”
I packed my shopping bags and started my mission – optimistic that I would be successful. Visually imagining my smile and heartfelt “thanks” when the teller handed me my MoneyGram cash. Seeing myself strutting around Nkwanta and Kpassa spending my newly-acquired cedis.
Note: Reading my February 1 post on “Transferring Money” provides background information about why I took time to visualize successfully receiving my money.
As I rode my bike into Kpassa, I noticed a full tro heading toward Nkwanta. Not a good omen. It meant I’d be the first of at least nine passengers needed before the next tro would head south. I took a breath and pictured myself enjoying the wait.
As I rode into the Kpassa stations, the Nkwanta car (a van with room for at least fifteen people) was empty. I locked my bike and bought a ticket. I waited.
A white man in my general age group stood by the north-bound tro waiting for it to fill. What? I had never seen a retired white person in Kpassa. We introduced ourselves and talked for thirty minutes. He had first come to Ghana when he was three months old, worked for a long time in the now defunct Ghana tobacco industry, and currently lives near Accra. His tro filled quicker; he left within an hour.
I sat with three other people in the back seat of the tro. None of us were “supersized” and none of us were traveling with small children or huge bags. We sat independently; our hips, shoulders, and legs didn’t touch each other a rare occurrence. We wouldn’t be sharing sweat. Another positive omen.
I arrived at Nkwanta and walked directly to the Agriculture Development Bank – my passport and special MoneyGram code safely tucked in my wallet. I filled my mind with a positive attitude and confident hope.
The guard/receptionist directed me to the final teller window like he did a week ago. I pushed away my surfacing deja vu feeling.
I stood in the four-people queue for a few minutes. An employee sitting at a desk in the general reception area said, “Madame.” He was talking to me. “What are you waiting for?” When I responded, he directed me to the empty chair beside his desk and pulled out a MoneyGram form.
I handed him my passport; he began to fill out the form. “Mrs.?” he asked. I hoped my answer matched my brother’s when he completed the on-line “send money” form.
“Sue is your middle name?”
I cringed as I replied “yes” – knowing that the MoneyGram paperwork did not include “Sue” and that my answer may lead down a “sorry, no money today” path. After providing my Accra mailing address and giving him Larry’s full name and the MoneyGram special code, he asked me to sign the form.
My signature was below a paragraph of legalize that said, “I have received the money.”
“This says, ‘I have received the money.’” I hesitated before adding my signature.
“You will get it.” he replied.
I liked his confidence. A good omen. I signed the form.
He motioned for the receptionist/guard to take the form to a teller and told me to wait.
I waited. I watched more TV showing the Ghana Parliament’s vetting of a Ghana Health Services appointee – rounding out last week’s Education Minister’s vetting.
During a commercial break, an advertisement for MoneyGram appeared. A good omen.
The phone rang on the man’s desk. He listened and talked, then asked me: “Where do you live?” Oh, no. A bad omen.
Larry must have put “Jumbo” on the form. I had given the man the only mailing address I have in Ghana – the Peace Corps office in Accra. “I live in Jumbo, near Kpassa.”
Would we have to re-do the paperwork?
He relayed my reply to the voice at the other end of the phone. “Please, wait.” he told me as he hung up.
I waited. I visualized. I hoped.
I watched more vetting. The woman on TV answered questions about using traditional practices in the Ghanaian health care system.
After a few more minutes, the man directed me to stand. The moment of truth. Where would he send me?
Behind the tellers’ windows to the bank manager? Extremely bad omen.
Directly to a teller’s window? Jackpot.
I hit the jackpot! He directed me to a teller’s window where I saw a banded stack of five cedi notes. I glanced at the stack – 100 wrinkled dirty (but very spendable) bills. Next to the banded blue bills sat a smaller stack of various colored bills. The teller had me sign two different forms and then pushed the money my direction.
I smiled as I thanked him.
The banded stack was too thick for my wallet. I stuffed the thick band of cash into my zippered skirt pocket and put the other money into an easily-accessible pocket.
Then I went shopping!
I bought flour and margarine. I’m eating fresh-from-the-oven cinnamon rolls as I write this.
I bought “carpet” (plastic laminate thicker than contact paper but not as thick as linoleum) to cover my desk and small kitchen table. I used the new covering on the kitchen table when I rolled out the cinnamon rolls this morning.
I bought oranges, carrots, cabbage, and cornbread.
I paid my 52 GHC electric bill.
A successful trip to Nkwanta.
I got money. I spent money.
I completed my high priority Friday tasks.
I don’t have to mentally prepare myself for a fourth trip to Nkwanta to get money. You won’t have to read a “Transferring Money – Part 3” blog post.
Life in Ghana is good.