That Time I Punched a Guy at the Airport in Ghana
I tend to be Constable Responsible when I’m travelling. I don’t drink too much when I’m alone, I don’t go wandering at night (or at all in unsafe places) and I generally keep guarded. I feel like my instincts and my responsible nature keep me safe. But sometimes I worry that it holds me back from having true experiences.
It was my first time visiting West Africa, I was guarded. I landed with a group of colleagues in Accra, Ghana. I was already on high alert after the immigration officers made "romantic" (to put it politely) advances toward me. Finally, I had my bags, and I was headed toward our arranged driver.
I was travelling with a group of about 30 people, and I was the last to make it through customs. I headed toward my group of colleagues who were loading into a van by arrivals.
Arriving in some countries can be overwhelming, you may have dozens of unauthorized drivers and porters vying for your business, calling to you and attempting to “help” you. Arranging transport from your hotel can be the safest and most low stress way to get to your destination in countries where safety is a major concern.
As I headed toward my group a man dressed in a plain white polo shirt and black pants to my left grabbed my suitcase from my grip and said, “Let me help you”.
In my head, worst case scenario, this man would steal my bag, best case, he would actually carry my bag and force me to pay him. So I politely said, “No thanks” and firmly grabbed my suitcase back from him.
Again he said, “I will help you, ma’am!” And I firmly said, “No!” speeding my pace, about 50 metres from my group.
As he grabbed my bag a second time, I instinctively elbowed him in the stomach and then brought my fist up to punch him in the chest. I’m not sure if I thought I was skilled in martial arts, or what my pathetic move would do to this very large man, but I do hope you’re picturing this ridiculous scene is your head right now.
A few minutes after that, I was mortified, as I learned that the guy was our driver, and my colleague had sent him over to help me with my luggage. Oops!
In my defence, he was not wearing a nametag or branded shirt and he did not identify himself. But it does make me re-evaluate how on edge I can be sometimes.
If you need to brush up on your martial arts moves, I’m your gal!