I sat at my desk working on my Powerpoint slides for a class presentation which I had to deliver the following week on current vaccine approaches for dengue fever. It was about 2:30pm, and I was beginning to feel hungry. I was alone in my room, a place I had learned to call “home”. Earlier, I had done my laundry, mopped and tidied my room as I usually do. I had also spoken to my siblings… Something was definitely wrong. I felt it, but I could not place it; some awkward silence which I could not explain. “Why does today feel so different from every other day?”, I wondered. I took a break from my reading desk and picked up my phone. Then it happened… I got the disturbing news: my beloved grandma was no more! For that instant, I felt like my world had crashed at my feet. Was I dreaming? I needed to wake up from that nightmare immediately…
I went to the gym as usual for my workouts – a morning routine which I was beginning to enjoy. This workout was intensely refreshing. I had a lecture later that afternoon on Pharmacogenomics, and it was going to be a long one. I needed a warm bath and a plate of freshly made banku and okra stew. I rushed to my room to do the needful. Everything seemed so perfect. It was then I felt it: a sharp pain. I could barely move my legs. What’s this feeling? Delayed-onset muscle soreness? I couldn’t afford to miss the class. I found a way to get to class. Don’t even ask me how I returned to my room…
“Fire! Fire!! Fire!!!” was all I heard. How I managed to quickly pack up my laptop and books, pierce through the crowd of students who were equally fleeing for safety, then run down the three-story building in the following second still amazes me. I could see the flames. Was the building on fire? Just a few minutes before the alarm, I was in the 24-hour reading room. I had just returned from the welcome durbar organised for international students. My colleagues went directly to our lodge while I remained on campus to put in some hours of study before heading home. Looking around, there was no fire in close sight. “What is happening?” I asked. “TF is on fire!!” a passer-by responded. “Oh no! I stay at TF!!!!” I yelled. Apparently, the inferno was from a gas station about five minutes walk from my lodge. It was 7:00pm and the evening was still young. I went back to my reading desk. This time, we were very few people in the room. I tried to be calm. Six hours later, I called an Uber cab to take me to the “burnt remains” of my lodge. Getting there, about thirty young men were standing outside the hostel. The building appeared to be intact except for the power outage. The place was deserted. There was no fire in sight but for a thick blanket of smoke hovering over the building. “Would you be safe out there?”, the Uber cab driver asked me. “Safety is of the Lord”, I responded. I spent the next hour gathering information on the fire incident from the young men outside (I must have watched enough of “detective movies” in my childhood.. Lol). The Uber cab driver, out of sheer concern, had waited for thirty minutes to ensure I was okay before he left – what a kind soul! Knowing the situation was under control, I walked up to my room and had a sound sleep.
I laid on my bed enjoying my sleep – what a long night it was! The night suddenly seemed super-longer (are we having longer nights and shorter days?) until my phone rang! “Hi, Pearl! It’s time for the prions class, and the lecturer is in class” the voice from the other end chimed. I looked up at my wall clock, it was 9:00am. Father Lord! How did I sleep so long? It was an extremely unusual occurrence. I hopped out of my bed straight into the shower. Thirty-five minutes later, I walked into the prions class… Talk of magic!
These are just a little few of my many interesting experiences on this sun-kissed land.
It all ends with “We are happy to inform you that…” you have spent 365 days in Accra!
Celebrating God’s faithfulness.
Categories: My Creative Side