Friday, 27 December 2013

Day 73 - Golokwati to Santrokofi (FINAL DAY!!!)

We all woke up early today as Mother Kinza had briefed us the night before that we had to arrive in Santrokofi at a certain time. This was because there was a grand welcome planned that would involve the people of the town along with the volunteers. The others went outside to the table area for breakfast. I wasn't that bothered by breakfast until I found out it was free. Shortly after breakfast we got our stuff together and got going. We didn't have too many miles to cover but the plan was to get to a town called Hohoe (the town before Santrokofi) at least an hour before we were scheduled for the grand finish so Kinza could collect our personalised t-shirts from the other volunteers before the final few miles. It wasn't long before Kinza stopped to buy some credit for her phone. She had left Helen (Cockles) Peacock in charge of organising the other volunteers (getting them from Accra to Santrokofi and sorting out the grand welcome). Kinza had previously expressed her slight apprehension to us at leaving Helen in charge of everyone, as she had spent a considerable chunk of the last week living it up on The Cape Coast. Anyway she made the call and everything was going to plan so we continued. We were all feeling very excited about the grand welcome and finally being able to see the school/orphanage and children after all the images and videos we had previously seen at RHF annual dinners/online. Halfway through the morning Chris needed a dump. We came across a petrol station so went over to see about toilets. There weren't any and he needed to go so I gave him some toilet paper and he went for a wild around the back in some bushes. The petrol station was empty apart from the pump attendant and a religious voice was being transmitted via speakers. Whilst waiting for Chris I decided to do some press ups at the side. Chris then returned and slammed out the one-handed press ups. After the press ups we carried on with the cycling. A couple of hours or so later we arrived in Hohoe. It was the biggest town we had come across in a while and we got there with loads of time to spare. Kinza took us to Obama Gardens (a bar/restaurant with large patio and grass areas that was later to become our regular spot). The others got cold soft drinks but I was more interested in food. Me and Tom got involved with rolling an old tyre around with some children for a little while. After that Jones came for a wander with me and we found this woman at the side of the road selling some very cheap and nice looking hot food. She gave us plates and cutlery as Jones explained we would return this after finishing eating. We returned to Obama Gardens with a substantial amount of food and tucked in. It was really really good and we filled ourselves up well. We returned the plates/cutlery and I asked her what times she served the food (I planned to go back for more at a later stage). There was a barbers across the road and I had been wanting to have a haircut for ages. We still had time to spare so we went in. This instantly became a joke as we were looking at a large poster with celebrity faces/haircuts on the wall and remember laughing at Wayne Rooney being up there (post hair transplant). After seeing who could identify the most celebrities it was time for my haircut. I was going for a thick stripe in the middle and shorter at the sides (like an image of David Beckham on the wall). I was a bit apprehensive about this as had always had my standard number 3 all over cut before. I needn't have worried because everyone agreed that it looked good after. The haircut cost me 3 Cedi (£1). Chris and Tom then had a shave, with Tom going for a Will Smith goatee. After some photos of us posing next to the celebrities we headed to the point where Kinza was meeting the other volunteers to get our t-shirts. We stayed out of sight so that we didn't see anyone until the grand welcome. A few minutes later Kinza returned with our T-shirts. All of the t-shirts had the RHF logo on the front and our previously agreed nicknames on the back (me being 'Rave Train', Chris being 'Too Many Pens', Tom being 'The Colonel') except Kinza who had disappointingly gone for 'Sister Kinza' instead of 'Mother Kinza'. Jones also had one that said 'Jones' on the back (I think this may have been adapted to 'Dr Jones' in honour of the Aqua song at a later date). We put the t-shirts on and started riding the last few miles. We stopped at the bottom of the hill before the climb into Santrokofi so Kinza could make one last phonecall telling them to get ready as we would be there in a few minutes. The new t-shirt was already sweaty (a combination of the hot day and nervous excitement at what was about to happen). We decided to cross 'the finish line' side by side with our arms on each others' shoulders. We climbed the hill slowly and soon enough we could hear cheering. We then saw a mass of people in the road ahead and got into formation. This was extremely overwhelming and I remember having a massive smile on my face. We cycled through the ribbon finish line that a couple of volunteers were holding out and got an even louder cheer. Arctic to Africa was complete.

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