Ben's Ghana Adventures

A collection of all the emails that I sent while I lived, worked and travelled around Ghana West Africa from October 10th 2005 to February 10th 2006. Sorry thers a lot but I had a bloody good time living the experiences! Check out to see all my African Photos.

Saturday, December 10, 2005

African Tales 9

I had to change the title of my email as Ben's African Adventure has now lost the appropiateness of its own title.
I write this email with a numbness inside me. There is no way of writing this that will not bring pain and sorrow to my heart. I bring tragic news that was unexpected and shocking to all of us here Volunteering in Ghana.
Our travelling companion, buddy, pal, and most of all trusted friend Canadian Cara Knowles died suddenly in her sleep on Thursday morning. We still do not know the cause of death but the shock has all knocked us for six. Only a few hours before had we sat in the local bar with her chatting and discussing our plans for New Years. Now it is hard to think that we will never see her again.
It pains to write this email but I feel it is my duty to write and portay a true image of her lif with us in Ghana and hersudden passing.

The news came early on Wednesday morning and we immediately went with two other volunteers to her house. The police where there and so many people stood there staring at her body. I was sickened by the whole situation. Neighbours, local teachers all crammed into her room taking bloody photos. Taking photos of her, why the sickness of it. Yes she lay there on the baed with a look of pain and sadness on her lifeless face, but to show no respect to the friendliest person I have ever met maddened me.
This is where Ghana has tru;ly let me down and I feel ashamed to have witnessed what I did. Her body was wrapped in a pink bedsheet and put on the back seat of the school bus as we transported her to hospital. When we got their the doctor asked us a few questions and then didnt cover her up properly. So you could see her hair and a staring eye.

I got angry as they took her out of the bus. They pushed a stretcher through the wiindow and lifted her on to it. For f**ks sake cup her head I hollared. I took charge of the veteran stretcher and through gritten teeth we transported her into the ambulance. There was no compassion about the whole scenario. Only us volunteers seemed to be moved.

Andy had to travel with the body to the morgue in Accra that day. A job I praise and respect him for doing and one that had to be done. I had to collect and bag up all her belongings for transporation to the Canadian embassy and Yesterday I spent the day in Accra with Afra the German girl at our organisations head office m,aking many phone calls to the embassy, the doctors and other such important places. We had to make an itemised list of all her wordly possessions and to see her stuff like that pained me greatly. Her digital camera full of pictures, her mp3 player with the songs on it that she introduced me to. Her clothes that we went to the seamstress in Swedru to get made and the fabrics we bougfht in Accra on a day trip all brought back memories. It still hasnt sunk in and I dont think it ever will. How can the girl who we did so much with and went to so many places. The girl who only last weekn we climbed to the top of the waterfall and swam in the cool refreshing waters be gone. To think that the last I will eber see of her was a body in a bed, it was her but want her. The body was void of her expressions, her laughter, her smile. I suppose I am in shock really. She hasnt died she has just gone travelling on one last long journey that no one can follow.
I feel bad and almost like I am betraying her menory by writing this email to you all. But I need you all to know. I need to express my feelings in some way. I need you to all know that life is precious and if a young 25 year olf friend who was so active and bubbly can be taken away we must all embrace what we have.
I feel melancholy and some how in need of a magic tonic that can turn the clock back. How did she die. I wish I knew. I wish I could somehow travel back and stop it all, but alas It can never be done. Yes I accept that death itself is just another part of life and a path that we all must tred one day. But when the reality and finality of a situation such as this hits you, you become lost.
We all all uniting together, all the volunteers of all nationalities. We have ensured that her belongings are safe and protected and have passed on our details as requested to the embassy.
There is little more we can do, but everything looks different now. The mud huts and the rusty taxis that drive past have lost their shine some how. I suppose this is just how one does feel when confronted with shock, but it is confusing. We all feel that we have to do more, but all has been done now. 2 days of panic, and travel have seen that she is safe and her possessions collected and listed. I wish the embassy could have listed them as it felt like prying onto privvy information but we have followed their instructions.

I apologise for this email if it has upset you and I truly feel bad writing it, but I need to express myself.
When you get the chance today please dop something for me. Kiss someone, tell a family member that you love them, stroke the dog, phone a reletive, hold someones hand, stare onto the horizon. But when you do please appreciate life and all that we have. I know that is slightly melodramatic but I now seem to see thinsg in a different light, or rather thinkthat I do. Alternatively I am just talking a load of b*ll*cks and I need to be ignored.

I must go now as we still have to inform the other volunteers who klnew her. A job that can only and should only be done face to face.

Take care all, I sorry to have to write with this news. Please forgive me if this email has upset or made you think ill of me.

Be happy

x x x x x


At 2:07 AM, Blogger kdar said...

What happened to her?

At 9:12 AM, Blogger Unknown said...

Dear Ben,
Cara is my cousin and I miss her greatly, your article was very helpful to my family in knowing what really happened as they wouldn't tell us alot of are very lucky to have known Cara



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