Monday, 18 July 2011

Just got back from the Northern Region!

    As i said in my last post, i was to journey to the Northern Region of Ghana for the weekend. Obviously being pretty ignorant to the goings on in Ghana, I had no idea what I was in for. Now before I tell you all about my weekend I'll give you a little bit of a backround on where exactly I was. Ok so where I am staying is The Greater Accra Region. Its a large city mostly and even though there is a lot of poverty, most people are living in shacks of some sort and wearing normal jeans and t-shirts. For our society today, they are what we would call pretty civilized. Our goal was to get to the Northern Region. What we had to do was pass through the Eastern Region, then the Ashanti Region and then we could finally get to the Northern Region. Above the Northern Region are the Upper West and Upper East Regions. As we journeyed up Ghana the villages and towns became more remote and more...well...what you would maybe consider "tribal africa." Our of all of the regions, I'm sure some of you have heard of the Ashantis. The Ashanti region is a reputation of a being a very proud and aggressive group if people and they're country has a lot of history too with all of their kings and wars. From there though we went into the areas where the most remote and poor villages were. 
     Along with my family, Vivianne and her daughter, Roda came along for the ride. Since Vivianne hasn't travelled much and we are lost Americans, we hired a tour guide and a was actually rather humorous as we drove through the little villages with the different tribes as we sat in our air conditioned van being told all the history of the places we passed. The beginning of the trip had rather a bumpy start. In the first half hour of our three day excursion, my mother threw up three times in the middle of Accra. Everyone around the town got a real kick out of it as my mother was doubled over throwing up any sort of hydration left in her. So that was fun... I felt pretty bad for our driver, Atison and our tour guide, Nathan, though. It was only the beginning of our trip and we weren't even out of Accra and we had stopped for food, stopped to throw up three times, and stopped for a restroom stop in the first hour. You could see in their faces that they were not exactly thrilled. So we were all not exactly fond of the fact that our tour guide talked the entire time during our first twelve hour ride to the Ashanti Region. We all knew exactly when he was going to start talking again too, he crossed his fingers in a prim way, looked side to side, leaned back, and began to rant about Ghanna. We, for the most part, all tuned out. 
     In the Ashanti Region we stopped once to go to the palace where the Kings of the Ashantis use to stay, but it was boring not something that I'm going to write about. Our first night we stayed on the edge of the Ashanti region in a tiny little motel. Sofia and I weren't exactly use to African hotels so the lack of sheets and the chipping walls were a little intimidating for our first night in our journey. The next morning was to be the day that we would be able to get to the Northern Region. It was only about an eight hour drive that day and on the way we stopped at the Kintampo Waterfalls. Our tour guide down to the falls name was Robert. In my mom's words he was "as cute as a button," and he was truly just that. He looked to be about six years old but he spoke english very well and had quite the personality. The water falls were beautiful of course. All those photos are on my facebook. Robert ended up being 25 years old though. He told us all that he was born in 1986. It made sense then, with his defined smile lines, his fluent english and his posture. Robert had a growth hormone defect so after he was about five he stopped growing. I was shocked and really felt awful. I mean how can someone find a wife, or lead a normal life with that sort of defect. I mean, I'm sure he's use to it now but it made me think a lot about how us as americans are lucky to have any kind of health care and medicines available to us when we need it. That's all i really have to say about that...
      Our next stop was not planned. As we were coming closer to the National Park we kept seeing a bunch of termite mounds. My dad, the curious man he is, wanted to stop and take lots of pictures. It was hot out though so i didnt get out at first. The termite mound was very close to a village too so my dad, mom, and Vivianne all started to (try) communicate with them and take their pictures. They were the Fulani tribe and didn't speak a language that any of us knew and Vivianne and Nathan know lotssss of languages. They were all girls about my age. Some younger and others older. Then there were about ten little babies and children. I fell in love, naturally. I've always loved kids but after this trip...i don't know it's like I saw the baby light. There were two tiny babies. They were literally the size of a football. And the others were all cute too. The part that disturbed me a little bit though was the fact that the girls my age and younger were having all of these babies. The women in the Fulani tribe can get married as young as ten years old which means will start having babies as soon as their bodies let them really. They were all very kind though and all had beautiful faces and smiles. They loved to get their pictures taken too and to look at the pictures afterwords, just like the girls around here. The little ones kept signing that they wanted clothes and bottles too. Its not that they wanted the water out of the water bottles but the bottles help them get water from a well that they may have. So how could i say no to such pretty little baby faces when they wanted my shirts. So I gave them my franklin knight's t shirt and my brand new...Urban Outfitters tye dye could say I was a little sad to see them go but it made me so happy when they put them on. I also gave them our waterbottles and bracelets. I hope we made their day.
     Our second stop was again, not on the schedule. It was a Muslim mosque in the center of one of the tribes. So we're all like ya ok sounds cool. As soon as we get out everyone swarms us. It's a little different than the Fulani tribe. Those children wore pretty necklaces and wore nice fabrics but this tribe was in destitution. The babies wore nothing or just torn undewear and they all seemed very excited to get business and for people to come see their mosque. Our guide to the mosque was telling us all about the history of it when all of a sudden everyone comes out of the mosque and an old man with a scary lopsided face started to yell at our guide in a different language. Then he looked at me and my family and friends and started yelling at us in perfect english! He told me that God is going to cut me because i came to tour the mosque during praying hours. Obviously we were not welcome. We tried to stay a bit longer but then he told Nathan that he was able to pull out a knife so we left in a hurry after that. So that was interesting. 
     Finally we made it to Mole's National Park in Ghanna. We saw some that was interesting but that was really the only cool part of the actual safari. Oh and we saw a warthog. Honestly after by being threatened by a Muslim and metting awesome Fulani girls the safari seemed a little bland. 
     So that was pretty much my weekend. It looks like the SOS orphanage is not going to work out for me this time unfortunatly. I'll still be able to visit some other orphanages around Ghanna though.  Since that was my reason for coming to Africa, my graduation project, and really a very good thing to put on my transcript, I'm already brainstorming a bigger and better idea of what I can do to help our Ghanna. Write more about that tomorrow!

1 comment:

  1. Olivia, it sounds like you are having quite a wide range of experiences. Even the less fun ones will be great memories. I hope your Mom is feeling better. Keep the great blog postings coming and I am glad you figured out how to post pictures on the blog!