Last time I posted a blog, we were heading off traveling around the southwest of Ghana for the Christmas break and had promised pictures. Unfortunately, things didn’t quite go to plan…
- You have to carry a lot of cash for a holiday here – you can’t really pay by card and, outside of the cities, you don’t know where or whether you’ll find a reliable cash machine. On our first night, our money was stolen along with a few other things from our hotel room. Someone waited until the few hours that we left our room (and our stuff) unattended and cut a small mosquito-netting window from its frame to climb in.
- We spent Christmas Eve at the police station.
- Christmas Day afternoon, I was struck down with food poisoning.
- After a slight improvement allowed us to travel to our next destination, an infection combined with the food poisoning to knock me out – bringing us back to Accra early where I spent New Year’s Eve in bed.
Illness is a part of life here, with malaria and typhoid the go-to diagnoses in clinics rather than common coughs and colds. Theft is much less so though – we were just unlucky. Ghana is normally a really safe place where, even in city centres, people will leave their cars unlocked with the keys inside while they pop into a shop.
Anyway, in the midst of all that, we did manage a few holiday-like things:
We canoed to Nzulezo, a village that has been built on stilts on a lake, supposedly originally by a group of Malian refugees who wanted to find a place to live in peace. The interesting thing is in fact how similar this village is to every other village in Ghana – it just happens to be on water, an hour’s canoe ride from a town.
We rested on a beautiful beach near Axim where locals fished and tourists surfed.
We were an attraction for lots of kids on the beach who were extremely shocked by how white my skin was, were unimpressed by my This American Life podcast, and somehow ended up having a discussion with Tom about science, the universe, and big questions like ‘why is the sea here not blue?’.
We visited a famous fort in Cape Coast used for many years to imprison slaves before they were transported across the Atlantic. The underground rooms, with little light and space for the estimated 1,400 slaves kept there at any one time, were haunting – a stark reminder of the terrible mistreatment of so many people during the slave trade.
Hope you all had a more successful Christmas and New Year than us. Oh well, we’ll file it away as ‘a story to tell’…