FC: Ghana 2 0 1 2
1: I decided to visit Tess in Ghana before I came home from my year and a half living and working in South Africa. After my 6 hour flight from Johannesburg I finally landed in Accra! I got through customs and gathered my luggage. Tess was waiting for me with a sign saying "BFFF". We gave each other a huge hug and then made our way to the the Ex Pats house where we would be staying that night. An Ex Pat is a Peace Corps Volunteer who has already done their time but wanted to stay in country. They live in a house and open their doors to current PCV's whenever they can. We sat up all night catching up. | The next day we dropped off one of my bags at the Peace Corps Headquarters and headed to the Circle where we caught a tro to Koforidua. Tess had me try plantain chips and bofrot. Bofrot is similar to a donut.We grabbed fresh coconut and went shopping in a huge market. After we bought some fabric we went to a restaurant and had redred for lunch. This is a spicy bean meal served with plantains. After lunch we found a Spot and had a few drinks. We talked to a man who kept telling us there was 'no problem' and 'it's all about four letters.. L O V E'. We went back to the tro center and waited for Kendra and Andy, a couple of Tess' friends. We ended up getting yelled at by a shop owner for sitting on his shop steps. Kendra and Andy showed up and Andy, Tess and I jumped on a tro and headed for Andy's site near Mkwakwa. She lives up in the mountains and its absolutely beautiful.
3: The next day we caught a ride with Andy's neighbor to Lake Volta. In order to get to Tess' site we had to take a ferry to the other side of the lake. We arrived in Don Korkrum which is the town closest to Tess' site. It's about a 30 minute drive. We bought our tickets for the tro and walked around the market to pass time. Tess introduced me to rice in a bag. A lot of things in Ghana are given to you in plastic bags. Drinking water, food, and anything else you buy. Although the Peace Corps has been there for 50 years there is no system for trash or recycling. The rice in the bag was absolutely delicious! It was plain white rice with a spicy stew and salad. Yum!! Tess also had me try Pito. It is an alcoholic beverage made from millet served in a calabash bowl. I was not a fan. Tess loved it, I think she has become an alcoholic. When I told her how gross the drink was she said "It's so delicious!" Our tro finally filled up and we made our way to Tess' village, Mem Chemfre. Tess lives in a compound with a few other people. Tess has a counterpart that helps her work with the village. Her counterparts sister made us breakfast lunch and dinner over the next few days. Tonights dinner was Wagashi stew. Wagashi is a type of cheese, it was delicious!
8: Pito-alcoholic drink made from millet served in a calabash bowl
9: The next few days Tess and I relaxed around her compound. We watched movies, read books, and played card games. Tess opened up and told me about a time when she was young and she had a Barbie boyfriend. He took her places and treated her the way a normal boyfriend would treat someone. Then one day a boy from school found out about Tess' Barbie boyfriend and told everyone about it. Tess and her Barbie boyfriend were never the same. On our last full day in the village Tess took me for a bush walk.Tess showed me the Shea tree forest that was supposed to be protected but had fallen victim to a fire shortly before I arrived. We also saw a lady cutting down one of the trees. Tess was not happy. When we got back to the compound I drew a ginger snowman on Tess' wall to add to her Christmas decorations.
11: The school in Tess' village
20: We left Tess' village and headed to Kumasi where we stayed for one night. We visited the KSO (Peace Corps office in Kumasi) and then stayed the night at a hotel. We had hamburgers for dinner that night. Other than my very first night in Accra we had been having bucket showers. The hotel had hot running water so we were able to take proper showers. It was wonderful!
23: We leftKumasi and headed to the Cape Coast. At the tro centers people walk around selling different snacks and things. One of the popular snacks are hard boiled eggs. The ladies crack open the eggs and put pepe (Ghanaian pepper) on it. It's so good! We arrived in Cape Coast and met Katie, a PCV and one of Tess' friends. She lives in a village called Abrafo. Katie works at a stingless bee center and we went there for dinner our first night in Cape Coast. Katie's counterpart made us dinner. He made us Fufu which is made by pounding cassava, yams or plantains into a dough like ball and served with ground nut soup. It was one of my favorite meals in Ghana.
24: A lady preparing the boiled eggs with Pepe and the finished product | Plantain chips | A lady selling cookies
25: Me and Tess on one of the tros A public toilet sign. Toilets are still new to Ghana, there aren't that many of them.
28: Cocoa beans fermenting.
29: Stingless bee center where they harvest honey and have a garden where they grow various things including pineapples!
31: We spent the morning at Brenu Beach. We met another PCV named Johanna. We went swimming in the ocean and relaxed all morning. After we left the beach Tess and I went to the Cape Coast Slave Castle. This place was very interesting. Slaves were brought here until their ships arrived. This could take days or it could take years. The female dungeons held 150 to 200 ladies at one time. If one of the ladies got pregnant she would be separated from her baby at birth. The babies would be raised at a school and would never see their mothers. The male dungeons held 300 men at a time. There was a cell room where slaves were moved for punishment. The punishment was a slow death. There was no light, and no ventilation. The slaves were given no food and no water. We saw the door of no return, the door slaves passed through when their ships arrived to take them to England, and North and South America. After we visited the slave castle we did a small amount of shopping and then went back to Katies.
49: Katie had an adorable puppy that I became really good friends with. You can buy drinking water anywhere on the streets. The tap water is not safe to drink in Ghana.
50: We ended our trip going back to Accra. We went to the tro center in Cape Coast and waited for a tro for two hours. There were over 100 people waiting for a tro to Accra (it was a Friday). After a long, hot day of traveling we finally made it to the city. We dropped my bags off at the Peace Corps office and spent the day shopping and having drinks. My flight wasn't until 9pm so we were able to spend my last day hanging out and enjoying the city.I am so glad this trip worked out! I couldn't think of a better way to end my year and a half in Africa then with one of my best friends! Ghana is an amazing place and I'm so glad I got to see what Tess was doing for the Peace Corps!