Ghanaian show off

Trip Start Oct 01, 2010
Trip End Ongoing

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Flag of Ghana  ,
Wednesday, March 2, 2011

It's hard to describe the feeling I experienced when I first caught a small glimpse of Mom and Dad walking down the arrivals corridor at the Accra airport on Friday night. After being away for five months and anticipating their arrival for the last month, pure excitement is an understatement. They looked really great, especially since they'd been traveling over 18 hours. I'm sure the weather shocked their systems too; going from -36 to +36 is a huge difference! After we finished with our hugs and dried our eyes (allergies as David would say), we made the chaotic walk to grab a taxi. Pushing past anxious 'bell boys' and then negotiating the fair can be so exhausting, especially when Mom and Dad are understandably dazed by all the action. We made it to the hotel to drop off their bags and our plan was to head to the bar to grab a few beers and make our way to the volunteer house but we ended up stranded in the lobby for a half hour due to a torrential downpour. After that calmed down we made our way out and Mom got to experience firsthand the results of getting your hair slightly wet in the humid Ghanaian climate - poof!

Saturday after a breakfast with some friends we walked to Osu to check out the Global Mamas store and Mom bought a few beautiful dresses that she looks amazing in. She also bought some goodies for the special people at home. Talk about small World, it turns out that Dad's company Ronor also owns Ronor Motors in Accra so the co-owner Lawrence aka Atta, picked us up from the hotel and took us to the dealership for a tour. Lawrence was anxious to show us the Canadian flag outside the store and made sure to take a million photos of us with him in front of all of his cars. He kindly offered to take us to Cape Coast and aside from a number of gasps from Mom and Dad's concerned face look, we made it in one piece just in time for Eli's Egg Stew and spaghetti dish. Eli and Nii were so happy to meet Mom and Dad and Eli was so thankful for her gift that she got down on her knees a few times and Mom had to haul her back up. Sunday I woke up bright and early, Mom and Dad pretended to wake up (they didn't sleep a wink because of the music from the bar outside the house and the heat) and we walked to Elmina for Nescafé and toast at the Bridge House Restaurant. The restaurant is right on the water in front of the bridge that all the fishing boats pass under on their return journey home from a day or night at sea. After we filled up we spent the next four hours walking along the beach from resort to resort. We stopped at Stumble Inn for a beer and then continued onto Brenu for a much deserved tuna sandwich and chips. One Love picked us up shortly after and took us back home to shower up before dinner. Dad enjoyed a cigar and the three of us picked up some beer (Mom and Dad love the Castle Milk here - nice and dark they say) and we headed to Eli's for Ginger chicken and veggie stir-fry. After dinner we went back to the house for some Baileys with Appiah (who doesn't usually drink) and Ellen. At one point Dad went missing and Mom and I found him and Ellen at the bar behind the house dancing in a circle with about 5 Ghanaians! He wasn't happy to be hauled home but ended up giving in and coming back to bed.

Monday I brought them to the office to meet everyone and they were greeted with big hugs and smiles. George took them for a tour of Cape Coast and then in the afternoon they did a Batik workshop with Mary. Yesterday they did some proper volunteering and worked with a few of the Mamas on business plans. Last night after dinner with 15 friends, we walked to Shell to watch Manchester United beat Chelsea - it was quite a sight to see. This morning we went to Mable's Table for breakfast and they are off to Brenu for a day at the beach (and hopefully some sleep!).

It feels surreal having them here. I keep having to pinch myself because I think they're an illusion. They have settled in so perfectly and are even speaking a small bit of Fante. I am pretty sure that they can see why I love it here and aside from the odd comment (like, 'you better get your ass back home one day') I know that they understand my affinity for Ghana. 

Tomorrow is the big race day! The first annual Trot for Trash takes place around 11am at Bantama school. I'll post the media advisory and release on the blog. After the race we head to Busua and will stay at Busua Inn for two nights. Then Mom and Dad are off to Kumasi and Lake Bosomtwe until Tuesday. 

Legends say that in 1648 an Ashanti hunter named Akora Bompe from the city of Asaman was chasing an injured antelope through the rainforest. Suddenly, the animal disappeared in a small pond. It was as if this body of water wanted to save the animal's life. The hunter never got the antelope, though he settled close to the water and started catching fish. This place he named "Bosomtwe", meaning “antelope god”. The large dead trees standing offshore are over 300 years old. 

The following centuries saw several wars about the lake as both the Ashanti and the Akim clashed, each claiming the area. The Ashanti prevailed.

Each village in the lake area has its own shrine or fetish grove. With the arrival of Christianity, some of people gave up former beliefs, though many continue to seek traditional help in bad times or against diseases.

The Abrodwum Stone is held to be the spiritual centre of the lake. When there is such poor fishing it is considered a bad omen; the lake people sacrifice a cow. This act is celebrated in the presence of his majesty, the Ashanti king, the Asantehene himself. In the ceremony, the cow's innards are given to the stone and the rest is thrown into the lake. The crowd rushes into the water with cutlasses and axes to take their share of the meat. This is an event very much worth seeing. However, as such an omen depends on various factors, it is hardly predictable.

There is a traditional taboo against touching the water with iron and modern boats are not considered appropriate. The padua, a wooden plank requiring considerable skill to maneuver, is the legitimate method.

The circle round Lake Bosomtwe sends out a mystic aura that calms you down and immediately pulls everybody in its spell. The unique ecosystem, which is directly neighbouring the lake, is surrounded by a crater wall that’s up to 450 meters high. 
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