On this trip, I was known for
sometimes often making dire predictions which is why my group members suggested that this be one of my blog titles. It really started before we left when Lilly told me about the Ebola outbreak in Guinea, Liberia, and Sierra Leone which are very close to Ghana. I think I might have said, “Well, I guess we are all going to die of Ebola.”
Other conversations in Ghana might have gone like this:
Nava: “My bug bite is really itching.”
Me: “You probably have yellow fever.”
Me: I just swallowed some of the water when I went under the falls. I hope I don’t get giardia.
Macy: I ate some of the lettuce.
Me: I think you just got salmonella.
Me: So if one of us would cut our leg off or something, where is the closest hospital?
Stacy: About an hour away, try not to cut your leg off.
Now it’s time for some words of wisdom. Despite all of my predictions, we had an amazing trip with no problems other than a few minor gastrointestinal issues. I felt comfortable everywhere we went, and I loved hearing the phrase “You are welcome” when we entered a shop, restaurant, or a home. I found Ghanaians to be friendly, open, and kind; they were very eager to share their culture with us and to learn about life in the U.S. I would recommend travel to Ghana for anyone especially my classmates and the Grad Is who might be reading this. Go if you can!
To sum up, I want to share some other highlights of the trip that I have not talked about in my previous posts in the hope that I will entice some of you to go next year. One of my favorites was the Tafi Atome Monkey sanctuary. I was expecting that we would walk through several different types of monkeys in caged in habitats like at the zoo. Instead, a guide walks you across the road from the office building to a grove of trees and gives you a banana to hold in your hand with your arm outstretched. Then, four or five monkeys start jumping on you from out of the trees and eating the banana out of your hand. The monkeys then jump back into the trees using your head as a springboard.
Hiking to the Wli waterfalls with the kids from the orphanage was also a memorable experience. The kids loved playing in the water even the ones who were hesitant at first, and almost all of them got in the water. Some of them even went under the falls. This was such a relaxing, fun day for us and them.
We also hiked up to the highest point in Ghana, Mt. Afadjato, which was much more strenuous than the hike to the falls. Our guide did it in flip-flops, and he does it several times a day! The hike was challenging, but seeing the view at the top was worth the effort. You can see Togo from the top! We enjoyed having some of the older boys at the orphanage join us for the hike.
One of my favorite nights at the orphanage was when the children played the drums and danced and sang songs for us. It was a really special to see such joy on their faces when they danced and sang religious songs to traditional music.
Another highlight of the trip was the food. I was convinced before the trip that I would be eating rice the whole trip, and I blame our professors, Carole and Stacy, for this assumption. I think they really just wanted us to be prepared if rice was the only option at a restaurant. I was pleasantly surprised to find that I really liked Ghanaian food. It was very flavorful and spicy. I even ate some soup with a whole fish in it, eyeball and everything (I didn’t eat the eyeball).
When we returned to Accra, our group visited the Dr. Kwame Nkrumah Memorial Park and museum. He was the first president and prime minister of Ghana after it gained independence from British colonization in 1957. He and his wife are buried in the park, and there is also a large statue of him along with a fountain and many different trees planted by world leaders who have visited Ghana. The museum contained mostly pictures of Dr. Nkrumah and some of his personal effects.