Much excitement this week as we received not only letters, but a parcel!

This is what the post office looks like at our end. The fastest way to send a letter home via Ghana post is to use the post office at the airport in Accra.

Rather than just dropping the letter into a box, and letting the post office do the sorting, the letters are presorted into domestic and international. No surprisingly, Australia doesn’t warrant a box of its own, so we found the ‘Other Countries’ box, and away they went. It seems as though they took about 10 days – 2 weeks to arrive. Not bad.

At this end, the letters arrive here in a red post box at Konongo town. They are picked up by the mine, and given to us! Again, the letters took about 10 days to arrive.

Thanks to the 2 Miss Suters!

The parcel of goodies sent by the children’s fabulous Grandmother, was another matter altogether to pick up. When the letters arrived, we received a parcel notice, with the names and address of the recipients, in this case, Cecily, Lillian and Jock, in Konongo. A few days passed before we managed to get to the post office in Konongo, and the children we really hanging out for the parcel. Bill and I had just returned from a very long day in Kumasi when we stopped at the post in Konongo, only to be told that the parcel was with customs in Kumasi.

I clearly have not been in Ghana long enough, as I am [was] still reverting to my old habits of making a long list of chores to do when we head into town. The children and I were hot and exhausted after a day in Kumasi, when we stopped at the post office. The postal workers were at lunch, so please come back at 1.30pm. I noticed at the time a large number of people waiting but [foolishly] thought nothing of it. We headed back outside, to try and find some lunchboxes [school starts tomorrow!!]. Back in at 1.35pm. I aimlessly stand in the room, not knowing which queue to stand in. I’m told to stand by a Ghana Post worker. 10 minutes later, she receives my notice, I show some ID and  pay 7GHC handling fee. I’m told to go and sit, 10 minutes later the parcel arrives on the desk. We sit, with baited breaths, staring at it. Another 10 minutes we are called forward. I open the parcel, and the postal worker goes through the package with us. I describe the beautiful craft books inside as colouring books, and show her what Blu tac is. We are firmly told not to touch the contents of the parcel. She fills out an exercise book with the details of the parcel, and I am told to line up at Customs. Three people at the Customs desk. One is reading the paper, one is watching TV, and I wait my turn and am served by the last one. He inspects the colouring books, and deems them to be worth $2.50. I am then sent back to the Ghana post officer, where I wait in line again, and she works out a series of 5 taxes we are liable for. I am then sent back to the Customs officer, to wait in line, then he checks her maths, gives it at signature and a big red tick, and I am send back to the Ghana post officer. While I am waiting for her I note the tax is 52 peswes (about 35c). I look in my wallet and see I have 51 peswes is coin. When it is my turn, I tell her this, and she says no, its government money and I need to pay the correct amount. I hand over 1GHC (cedi), and there is a pause, and a muttering about getting change. After 1 hour in the post office, with the children behaving so so well, I say keep the change. I hope it goes towards buying x-ray machines for the post office!

Triumphant we return to the car, the children happily occupied for the hour trip home.


4 responses to “Mail!

  1. Chrissie,

    I love your stories of the trials and tribulations of everyday life but equally of the simple and priceless moments for you and the children with the farm animals, the fresh produce and the people you meet. It is clear that your patience can be tested at times but knowing you, you obviously get through it with a smile on your face and then come back and share it with us through your wonderful blog.

    Anyhow, the girls will be pleased to hear their letters arrived safely – I must tell them to include a few interesting bits and pieces next time just to help you have more fun with the post office and customs people.

    Keep up the great work and take care.

    All of the Suters/Gilchrist household send their best wishes to the five of you.


  2. Bloody hell ! I won’t complain about Australia Post again. I thought it was a nuisance to have to go to Bersfield (instead of Raymond Terrace) to collect a parcel !!
    I do hope you are keeping all these amazing experiences recorded; the ones we don’t recieve I mean as I am sure every day is different.
    Are you game to send your address to me?; I am sure you will charm post office/customs with more visits !!
    If kids are starting school to -day does that mean you have procured another set of wheels ?
    As strange as it may seem, I am delighted it has started to rain while I have been sending this.
    Love and cuddles, Rob xx


  3. Are you sure that Ghana was never a French colony? The remnant stands of old growth bureacracy seem vaguely familiar.

    Great story though (now that it is over). Best wishes to all.


  4. Hi Chrissie

    wow they are as bad as the Germans when it comes to red tape….must be something about countries starting with the letter G. hope all is going well in ghana,

    cheers, Big red


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