Today’s Lesson: Do Not Take Pictures of the US Embassy
Coming soon we will post some notes from yesterday’s trials, but meanwhile, here’s just a quick update from Accra, Ghana, where today we met with the US Embassy’s Information Resource Officer, the delightful Myra Brown. Myra is an enthusiastic reader and dyed-in-the-wool Kindle-lover; for her, the idea of using it in the developing world is very exciting, and she has given us a number of important people with whom to work in West Africa.
But before and after the meeting was a bit of a comedy show. Before the meeting, we caused a 15-minute commotion with the guards at the embassy as we were asked to remove one electronic device after another upon entry. We travel with quite a load of cables, adapters, USB drives, memory stick readers, still cameras, video cameras, and of course e-readers; each and every one had to be removed from our person and accounted for before we could enter the facility.
And after was worse. We wanted to grab a quick picture of the embassy for our records, but this turns out to be a very bad idea. We knew we couldn’t photograph the facility itself, but thought we were safe crossing the street and snapping a pic of the sign. Wrong, wrong, wrong. As we were preparing our post-photo getaway, a guard comes hustling across the street and in a stern voice demanded that we “come this way, gentlemen.” We marched back into the embassy, heads hung in shame, and deleted the pictures as turned over our passports and information for re-scrutiny and copying.
Fifteen minutes later, we were free to go, with apologies all around. And we do understand the sensitivity surrounding security.