By Terry Spamer;Gordon Thorburn
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Frankly, I didn’t expect to see much difference when I got there. Whether they had or they hadn’t, I was quite prepared to see the same plentiful supplies on stalls in the souk and my man John plying his trade. We flew into Kotoka well prepared, with a pack of 200 Lucky Strikes lying on top in each of our suitcases. At a nod from us, these were confiscated and we were through and heading for the Shangri-La. The rooms were grass-hut type chalets in the grounds but with rather better facilities than your typical native hut: air conditioning, TV, internet, mini bar, fridge, phone, safe, the lot, and the greatest of these was air conditioning.
These were from the water sellers, who provided what they classed as clean water to passers-by, bus passengers, car passengers, motorbike riders, who drank the water and chucked the bag. One day they will have to invite Hercules to come and perform his thirteenth labour: picking up a million plastic bags. Next day, we needed careful preparation for our meeting with Ernie, scheduled for 7 pm. The tapes of our previous conversations were with Panorama so we would have to get him to admit key issues all over again, in particular his involvement with primate capture and export.
We carried stills and video cameras, took a taxi and tried our best to memorise the route but it was hopeless with no street names, no numbers, nothing to tell one dreary, run-down alley with open sewers from another. Even the taxi driver would never have found it without John. It was just another cheap breeze-block shed, run down and seedy, but here we were going to meet the man who supplied all the shops in Accra with ivory and was a master carver himself. John disappeared for a few minutes and came back with Hallaji, a shortish chap with a grey beard and moustache, late 50s or early 60s and, like almost everyone we met in Ghana, a smiley, chirrupy chap, very friendly, eager to please.
Animal Spy: Animal Welfare Behind Enemy Lines by Terry Spamer;Gordon Thorburn