I’m a few weeks behind but I wanted to post a bit about my last few weeks in Ghana.
The other students from Seattle joined us with just a little over a week left in Ghana. It was interesting having 5 additions to the group as I had just gotten used to the way things were going. Mostly, my freedom. Ghana had officially started to feel like home. But I must say, the new additions were wonderful. The group had a very good dynamic and everyone had a lot of character…something that was necessary if I was going to share “my” Ghana with them.
We traveled to Kakum National Park in Ghana to do the Canopy walk and I must say..my fear of heights was truly tested. There are 7 suspension bridges about 130 feet in the air. The bridges shake and wobble and feel completely unsteady. I almost had a heart attack about 7 times! I think I held my breath the whole time. The views from that high were beautiful, at least something about the experience was worth it. You can see the top of the tropical rainforest and animals if they were out and about…I however, didn’t see any because I was so petrified. At least I managed to finish the trek, otherwise they may have had to airlift me out. Kind of embarrassing considering our 71-year-old professor had no problems and just kept on walking.
I’d love to show you some pics (and hopefully will find a reliable internet source so I can add some) but as of right now the computer won’t let me upload any. Quite the experience.
The girls and I took the study tour gang to Pleasure beach for Reggae night and I think they were all grateful to have some guides that knew the layout and hotspots. Otherwise they might have spent their nights drinking inside the compound. Boring!
About a week into the study tour we took a mini-trip to Kumasi, the Ashanti region and cultural hub of Ghana. Yaa Asantewa, my Ghanaian name, is from the Ashanti region and I’ve been looking forward to seeing her legacy and learning more about the strong queen who led the men to war against Britain that I was so adamantly named after. Our trip to Kumasi turned out to have many hidden surprises.
After finding a new place to stay we set out to a village about 3 hours away to learn about this thing called a “Twig Light.” However, on our way there we got our THIRD flat tire in one week. We ended up stuck on the side of the road for about three hours. Lucky for us, and not necessarily my stomach, there was a food stand nearby. They were selling grass-cutter soup. Grass cutter is a bush rodent and I figured I had to try it at least once while I was in Ghana. It was disgusting. That’ll be the first and only time my tastebuds experience that.
Back to the twig light. It is being used in a few villages to provide light where there is no electricity. The device is fueled by using “live” hot coal and water. You stick the device prongs in each, making sure they are separeted and voila! electricity. The women use the lights to prepare their foods, when they wake early in the morning there is not light for them to see. These twig lights have made a huge difference in their lives. Yet another project to ponder when I return.
Our second day in Kumasi we visited the Palace museum where I learned about Ms. Asantewa. The guide even closed the door and told me that I needed a picture with her statue, even though it was strictly prohibited. I’ve learned that in Ghana you can have anything if you just ask for it. There is no such thing as no.
Our second night in Kumasi will have to be discussed over beers.
The last few days in Ghana I started to get really sad at the thought of leaving this beautiful country that had welcomed me and allowed me to call it home. The people that I met made such an impact and the experiences I had cannot be rivaled. I have always had a hard time saying good bye and this was no easier. Our last night our dear friend Prince threw us a party at the compound. A bunch of his friends came with their drums and guitars and we played music and drank, all the while avoiding the words “goodbye.” I prefer “I’ll see you soon.” As they say in the song, “Africa is beautiful but Ghana is most beautiful.” I couldn’t agree more.
On to Kenya!