A special care package arrived in Hohoe a day or two ago and I was told to go to the post office to pick it up. I didn't have a slip but I did have an I.D. card that lets all know that I am who I say I am. With classes over for the afternoon and my counterpart manning the lab in my absence I was off to town to fetch my box of goodies.
I made sure to arrive before 4 as that was the time I thought the offices would close. Just after 3:30 the man behind the counter saw me and said he thought there was a box for me, and to wait.
Sure enough he said there was one and that I should take a seat on the long wooden bench inside the building. No problem so far.
He walked around a bit, asked a few questions to others there in the office and came over to explain to me that I had to wait now for the Custom's official who would inspect the box to make sure there was no contraband shipped into Ghana. I was reassured that he would be back.
Now, I know that the Custom's man is only in the post office on Wednesdays and Fridays, so I had made a point to be there in the afternoon after 2 (which is when he arrives) so I could get in and get out.
The first half hour goes by and I realize that not bringing a book, a magazine, anything whatsoever to read was a mistake. This could be a while, and pretending to play with your cellphone to make it look like you have something to do only lasts so long as a diversion. I really miss the iPhone here at very specific points and this was one of them.
What bothered me during the next half hour of waiting was that no one knew where the official was. I was hoping someone maybe had the cell for the gentleman so he could be called or flashed (meaning to call and hang up so that the person will call you back) and be informed that a very nice, quiet, kind man was waiting to receive a parcel. Alas, no. That never happened.
After 4:30 someone called me up off the stiff, uncomfortable wooden bench to let me know that the official was here. I walked to the table that we would sit at and his first words to me went something to the affect of, "Ah, you should not have come so late." I could not tell if this was in jest or not so I just let that sit there unanswered. I realize that it is best not to disgruntle the person who will be looking at your packages for the next 23 months and deciding if they are to be confiscated or not. Biting your tongue works. At least I hope it does.
Box in hand, my very kind friend Damla packed the care package to the brim with books, candies and clothes. It was entirely worth the wait, and then some. I am now off to consume candy corn by the handfuls!