Andi and I were met on arrival at the guest house by two charming ladies who we later got to know were also course (seminar) assistants known as Antonella Fiore and Susan Sharaf.
The very meticulous ladies made us feel very welcome and showed us to our rooms – Antonella attended to Andi, while Susan attended to me, explaining to us the facilities at our disposal and giving us stuff we would need while in Berlin.
Hei, and I must say the apartments at the guest house were simply cool, with a kitchenette, washroom, big wardrobe, television, bedside radio, two writing tables and all that, but the least said about the television, the better.
Only one of the over 50 channels became useful to me, and that was the CNN Channel – all the rest were completely German stations and my German or deutsch was not all that good; you know.
Long wait for my luggage
Ei! So I have really arrived at abrokyire so far from home? I soliloquised. Hmm! Yes, my new surroundings indicated I had travelled so many miles from Ghana and from Africa.
So I was supposed to take it easy and wait for the next line of action, which was to receive my luggage, which I could not find on reaching Berlin and I guessed it was because of the delay in connecting a flight from Frankfurt to Berlin.
In fact, I wouldn’t have left the airport without my luggage, which I believed had preceded me to Berlin, if Sabrina, who welcomed me at the Tegel Airport, had not assured me of handling it from there and asking me to go and rest and take it easy after my long flight.
But hei, that was another chapter I wouldn’t forget so easily. And it was because I did a lot of waiting before it finally arrived at approximately 6:30p.m. German time.
You can well understand my apprehension when after six hours upon arrival, I had still not seen the luggage I packed from home. During those nervy moments, I asked myself so many questions and feared the worst.
I am, however, grateful to Sabrina who kept communicating with me and asking for a description of my suitcase, at the end of which she assured that the luggage would get to me about mid-afternoon.
I understood the delay later when I received a call on my Germany mobile phone (part of the package on arrival and check in at the guest house which will be returned at the end of the course) and went downstairs to fetch my stuff.
It looked like I was only one of several people who were having their luggage dispatched to them and I heaved a heavy sigh of relief on seeing by suitcase. But then...was everything intact?
It seemed so but it had obviously been tampered with – the main compartment locked with a number combination had been opened – how, I didn’t know.
Perhaps the authorities were checking to make sure the owner of the bag did not have any contraband like drugs.
How do I know this? My small gari had been punctured, while my cocoa butter pomade looked like it had been stirred. Anyway I am grateful nothing was missing from my items.
Exploring our neighbourhood
Hmm! I didn’t tell you this. While I was still wondering what had happened to my luggage, Susan and Antonella – the charming ladies who checked us into the guest house, were back at 2pm (1pm in Ghana) to introduce us to the neighbourhood. That introduction meant we had to take a bus to the nearest central point from our residence – Hermannstraße (pronounced Hermannstrasser).
Meanwhile, it was still very cold from the day’s showers and that day, we were told, was exceptionally cold – what a welcome. Although I was glad it was an opportunity to meet most of the participants who had also arrived, it was very inconvenient for me because I was only in a polo shirt and a jacket I thought was very heavy until that moment – come see Ghanaman wey dey shiver for Kwesi Broni abrokyire cold inside but I no fit show am – for show say I be man from Africa – Mamei!
I had to quickly say some special prayers for us to return quickly to the guest house and thank God we did so in good time before I started shaking like a leaf on a tree during harmattan.
To be continued...