, , ,

Tuesday the 9th turned into a super long, hot, and frustrating day of driving with a long sweaty border crossing thrown in for good measure. The guards at the Ghana border were quite funny though and kept telling us that all was good because we could finally stop having to talk in French and speak English again. “This is Ghana! We speak English here!” they kept saying.

We stopped at a market to do cook team shopping and I caught sight of an exact replica of the very first car I drove – a 4-door Silver Renault 5 from the early 80’s. I had a photo standing next to it and for some reason, it made me feel rather nostalgic.

We stopped on the side of the road to make lunch in the middle of the day and quickly were told to move by a local because an armed robbery had taken place in that exact location the day before. It was a little unnerving but I was super impressed with how efficiently the group quickly packed everything away in just a few minutes so that we could find a safer spot to eat.

We arrived at our destination for the next two nights – Elmina’s Stumble Inn – when it was already dark. Most people set up tents on the beach but I was feeling quite tired and stressed out and so I opted to upgrade to my own beach bungalow which came with its own private outdoor bathroom. I include photos of that here because it was truly a unique room to enjoy.

The reason for my stress was quite a personal one but I will share it here as I will surely look back upon it with relief rather than embarrassment. The truth was – my monthly flow was severely overdue and I had finally broken down and bought a pregnancy test. Due to the stress I’d experienced prior to my departure, my last menses was extremely light – and that fact combined with the calculation that I was now 18 days overdue had caused me to become completely paranoid that I might be pregnant. That is not something I would wish upon anyone traveling on an overland truck in West Africa. Denial was proving to be much more than a river in Africa, and I had been putting this off for days now – convincing myself that there was no WAY I could be pregnant with my ex’s baby given the fact that I have an IUD – and ignoring the fact that I had been throwing up in the morning the past few days and feeling more bloated and emotional than possibly any other time in my life.

Thoughts of what it would MEAN if I were pregnant had been haunting my every waking moment for days and it was my friend Jack who convinced me after I’d broken down crying to her in Grand Bassam that it was time to buy a test and just find out for sure.

The test was negative.

On the one hand – it was a huge relief. And on the other – an emotional kick in the gut. If a baby had found a way to form in my body, at 41 years of age, despite the measures I’d taken to prevent it, I’m almost certain I would have had the child. That possibility wiped from my mind, I immediately could stop ruminating on the “what ifs” such a scenario would impose upon my life and all of its repurcussions.

Additionally, it led me to be even more worried about my physical health. I had never before been more than a few days late. I was as regular as a clock. Clearly, I had mentally underestimated the extreme stress and heartache I’d been going through – but my body was not so easily fooled.

In the end, it wasn’t until Accra 4 days later that my period finally arrived. I don’t think I have ever felt so relieved and happy, mentally, hormonally, physically and emotionally.