The journey

At the airport, when all our particulars were checked-in by the officials, we eventually found our seats in the cabin of flight EKO230 which was flying to the USA, our long awaited journey. We had almost spent six hours waiting for our flight at the airport, and we felt like it was all over when the flight took off. A glance through the windshield on my right where the land kept shrinking as we flew into the sky, caught my mind on the day that preparation began before this journey. It was one evening when the old telephone rang on the one-legged rugged small table in the hall. He finally broke the news on sending us abroad after eighteen good years. Although the news was true, my mum and I never believed it, because his delusions of sending us abroad over the past years have waxed our American dream cold. One would ask: What was my dad getting all those years in the United States? Meanwhile he made us aware that he had a strong bank statement, a well-paying job and a nice home. I truly did not see why he revealed the news to us at the moment that all hopes seem gone. I recall when our quest for the American dream kept us awake each night in Odeefo Asamoah’s prayer camp, buying his anointing oil, which my mum believed it like it was the surest means to get our USA visa. The difficulty in our travelling abroad was interpreted as the work of evil family members from my mother’s traditional home. And due to that, my mum and I never stepped foot in Afuso, our hometown even when her father passed away. She used to say that all these people are working spiritually against our travelling abroad, because she nearly lost her mind when she was refused a USA visa five times in two years.

“Hello Sir, do you want a cocktail?” the flight attendant said politely. Her soft-spoken voice brought me alive on the plane. “Yes mum.” I said. I looked up to her, she was elegant and her hair was beautiful, with a red ribbon tied around the neck. Though she was young, I used mum for her because my mum has admonished me, I can be thrown out of the plane if I play rude. The stewardess brought to us some potato chips with glasses of cocktail, which my mom declined to accept. I finished mine in less than ten minutes and I enjoyed hers with relish. She looked and smiled at me, and said, “You will eat plenty of potato chips when we get to your father’s place.” She did not eat throughout the journey because she had promised to the Lord that she will fast on her way to the USA. It was tough for her, but she had no choice because it was a mark of her devotion to God. In the airplane, there was one odd thing that kept me laughing, but feared was that my mum went on mentioning “Jesus” at every turbulence that struck the airplane.

Halfway through the journey, somewhere across the Atlantic Ocean, I walked from my seat through the aisle to the washroom at the far-left corner of the cabin behind the cockpit. As I came back to my seat, my wallet fell into the seat pocket. When I was retrieving it, I saw the small LCD screen attached to the back of the seat in front of me. It had an onboard internet connection so I decided to spend some time surfing the net. While I was reading the news from the BBC website, I heard the stewardess say that we should fasten our seat belt because there is an emergency. A search for what kind of emergencies could come about in a plane on the internet revealed that our flight has vanished. My mum could not read anything in English, but she could speak the basics, so she was doubtful when I broke the news to her. She was guessing that it was one of my tricks, which constantly holds her from going to washrooms during long distance travel. This was mainly because I had made her pee on herself when I raised an alarm that our bus driver has sped off with our passports and plane tickets on our way to the airport.

The flight was so smooth until we heard a very loud turbulent struck our plane. All the one-hundred and fifty passengers were scared and they started to murmur in reaction to what had taken place. The passengers on the plane were informed by the flight attendant that one of the two pilots had had a seizure. She furthered said, “In an effort to assist the unconscious pilot, the co-pilot disrupted the controls along the instrument panels in the cockpit, and as a result, the management of our plane has been altered completely.” Fear gripped the hearts of the passengers and I couldn’t bear the tears that fell. Names like Jesus and Allah began to rain. My mum was the lead prayer warrior on the flight. Although she felt uncomfortable praying in the seat, she still prayed fervently, spoke in tongues and she even prophesied about us going to heaven. I interlocked my fingers tightly around her like I always did when the nurse at Mampong was about to give me some injection on my buttocks. I could see blood oozing from a very old man who sat on our left across the aisle. He had a broken nose, but the more he tried pressing it, the more blood oozed from his nose. Nobody attended to him because the airplane was not stable; any move could result in breaking of one’s neck.

We were then told by the co-pilot that the plane would have to descend an altitude of 5,000 feet before the Federal Aviation Administration could navigate us. I held firmly to the armrest on the seat, and the fearsome freefall descent of the plane made me remember the unfortunate incident about Mensah’s old wagon. The careless drive by Akwasi, a peer, launched us, who were enjoying the wagon ride, into Maame Akua’s wooden shack, popularly known for her Sunday special fufu, on one Sunday morning. It was very terrible because it ruined the day for Maame Akua and her customers: many of them went home in their clothes soaked in traces of palm nut and groundnut soup. I wished I had gone to church that very morning instead of joining those friends of mine for that bad luck.

The overhead lockers in the cabin opened abruptly, followed with bags and other items, which landed on the heads of innocent passengers. The oxygen tubes stored in the lockers were dropped down as the plane depressurized, and everybody hurriedly grabbed one. I looked left and right, saw thick clouds in the form of an ogre as I glanced fearfully through the windshield. After an hour of panic, the plane returned to normal when the unconscious pilot recovered from the convulsion and a few controls were aligned in their normal order. At this point, my mom had prayed and her whole body was covered in sweat. I guessed she might have won the prayer marathon if there was. Afterward a few hours, we were told to tighten our seat belt because the pilot had to reach a safe landing at Puerto Rico for injured passengers to be afforded medical treatment. Only God can testify how swift the passengers moved out of the plane: after a blink of an eye, all the passengers including my mum were at the check-in. The police and the ambulance department came around to check for injuries. Fortunately, we suffered no bruises, even though, my mum knocked her lips on the tray table during the descent. We then waited for six hours before the first flight to Miami. We got on board and landed safely in the USA, despite that fear of another plane crash.

A few meters to the exit of Miami Airport, when after our documents were screened and we were good to go. I saw a very tall man with a bald head and a black mustache, looking so desperate beside a black SUV car. My mum said, “Kojo, that’s your dad.” It has been eighteen years since he left us, and I couldn’t believe that he was real. With tears in his eyes, he said in a thick, loud voice, “my son, come and hug your pap!”