Accra: University of Ghana

Accra We drive around the University of Ghana campus looking for the Department of Agricultural Economics. We stop to ask someone. They hear the word “economics” and point us towards the Department of Economics. That’s not right. We ask someone else. That person hears the word “agriculture” and directs us to the School of Agriculture. That’s not right. Another person says “Agricultural economics? I think that’s behind the Philosophy building.” So then we start asking people how to find the Philosophy Building.

Dignified humility. Earnest irony. Gentle strength. We are barely back home when we learn of his death from typhoid.

They tell us the meanings of their names. Abrafo means “warrior.” Adisa means “one who will teach us.” Danso means “reliable.” They laugh when I tell them my name means “wagon maker.”

We are invited to Sam’s house to watch the World Cup match between the Black Stars and the USA. There is great tension in the room as we all crowd around the TV, intent on every touch of the ball.

She has a passion for cleaning, for disposal. She has a gift for mobilizing people, for covert action. I find quiet satisfaction in solitary productivity. I feel nervous as Robin undertakes her mission to rid the library of mouldy newspapers. It feels like an impeachable president trying to dispose of incriminating documents.

We are characters in an Umberto Eco novel, wandering dark corridors past secret vaults and guards with keys who determine which passages will be opened, what knowledge will be revealed.