In the book Cat's Cradle, Kurt Vonnegut writes, "Peculiar travel suggestions are dancing lessons from God." Vonnegut is extremely wise in saying this. In the most general sense, I imagine that Vonnegut believes that we should take advantage of rare opportunities, especially those related to travel. Studying abroad in Ghana is my rare opportunity to travel to a country and continent of deep interest that I may never have been able to venture to in life. I wanted to take a risk and travel to a place completely outside of my world of knowledge and comfort zone. In this new world, I will be learning, experiencing, and discovering. So, follow me on my journey!
On that note, akwaaba (which means "welcome" in Twi, one of Ghana's main languages!) Welcome to my blog! Although not every experience or trip is mentioned or explained, I hope that you can learn and enjoy reading about Ghana, one of the most beautiful places in the world.
Feel free to e-mail me or make comments!
Tuesday, July 17, 2012
Sunday, December 12, 2010
On the other hand, I am excited to go home to see my family, eat the food I've been missing, take a hot shower, watch my favorite movies, and feel the Christmas spirit!
So, on that note...
Ghana, medɔwo. Yebehyia bio!
Thursday, December 9, 2010
We spent the whole next day just exploring Wa with two Ghanaian guys we had met. They took us to different mosques (the northern part of Ghana is primarily Muslim), took us out to eat, taught us how to ride motorbikes and took us dancing! We all had a really good time and were really happy that things didn't turn out as planned.
The next morning, they saw us off on the bus towards Tamale, which dropped us off at Larabanga. The bus ride was ridiculous. The roads aren't paved and it was bumpy as hell. Literally, we were getting bumped out of our seats! Sometimes it can be fun but after a while it becomes really annoying. We finally arrived in Larabanga where we saw the oldest mosque in Ghana and one of the oldest in West Africa. We also toured the village and were able to see inside mud huts, watch a mud hut being made and watch women make shea butter! I really enjoy seeing everyday village life because the people are so friendly and so content. After that, we went to Mole National Park. We took a short walking safari because we needed to catch a tro-tro to Tamale in the early afternoon. We were nervous that we wouldn't see any animals, especially elephants, since our tour was so short but we saw wart hogs, monkeys, antelope and elephants! It was amazing! We literally had to trek through mud and rivers and rocky pathways in order to see the animals but it actually made the experience so much more fun! We literally just watched the elephants for 30 minutes eating leaves but we all wanted to because we were in such awe of seeing elephants in the wild. Our tour guide was really informative and told us all about what they eat, how they eat, how long they live, how they usually die and how they defend themselves. It was definitely one of my favorite things that I've done so far!
After we arrived in Tamale, we checked into our hotel and took really long showers. It felt so good. For dinner, we decided to go to a Lebanese restaurant but our taxi driver ended up taking us somewhere completely different but it ended up being a really good mistake! I can't even remember the restaurant's name but it was delicious! The menu was fantastic. They had Ghanaian food of course but they also had American food! You would think that because we are going home so soon that I wouldn't care about eating American food so much, but no. Three of us ordered pizza and salad, my roommate ordered a cheeseburger, and the other two girls ordered a sub and spaghetti! After that, we all ate apple pie with vanilla ice cream. It was one of the most satisfying meals that I've had in Ghana! Speaking of food though and going a little off topic, I've realized that I crave Ghanaian food most of the time and lately, I've been craving kenkey, which is something that I hated for most of the time here! Now, I want to eat it everyday, which is something that I never thought would happen.
Anyway, we all slept really well that night since we had a long day. We slept in, had a good breakfast at the hotel, then traveled to Bolgatanga to go to the market, then to Paga to see Paga Pio's Palace, the Crocodile ponds and Pikworo Slave Camp. Paga Pio's Palace is living quarters for the chief of Paga and 700 family members. The palace was made up of small concrete huts with flat roofs, where people sleep when it's hot, that have paintings on the side of the walls. It was really pretty because all of the huts were close together with little passageways separating them. The Crocodile ponds were really fun! The only bad thing about it was the fact that the tour guide needed to use a fowl to lure the crocodile out of the pond in order for us to touch and take pictures with it. After we did that, he was going to feed the fowl to the crocodile and none of us wanted to watch so we walked away. But of course, we were all so curious to see what was actually going to happen. So, after walking about 30 feet from the crocodile, we all turned around and watched the tour guide throw the fowl in the air and the crocodile snatch it up in its mouth. Our reaction was equivalent to Dane Cook's reaction to "Mary getting hit in the face by a tire," and if you don't know it, look it up!
Our last stop in Paga was Pikworo Slave Camp, where captives from Burkina Faso and Ghana were held and sold to slave traders. The camp was not an ordinary camp but rather a landscape of trees and rocks where slaves would be tied. Our tour guide explained to us that when the slaves came into the camp, they would be branded with a number for auctioning. While the slaves stayed there, they ate out of 'eating bowls' carved out of the rocks formations. They would also play music by hitting small rocks on the big rock formations as a form of drumming, and singing. If slaves tried to escape, they would be tied to a punishment rock where they would be beaten and left in the sun without food or water. They would also be tied to the rock if they refused to leave with a slave trader until they consented to leaving. The saddest part about it was the realization that certain types of slavery, like child trafficking, still exists today. For me, it was important to realize that I shouldn't be desensitized to slavery because it happened long ago; it still exists today and although it's illegal and I don't witness it, I shouldn't ignore it.
The end of the trip was sad for two reasons: we didn't want to leave because we love the north and going back home means we only have 1 and 1/2 weeks left (now only 4 days!) But I really couldn't think of a better way to end my experience in Ghana.