After an 11 hour plane flight to Accra and a 4 hour time zone change, my body’s normal sleep pattern sure did take a wallop. For the first week in country, I was involved in a lot of activities, including logistics, travel, and training for my placement.
I only stayed in Accra for 2 days (July 30-31) whereby I went on a scavenger hunt to experience the sights and sounds of the city and learn the local customs of Ghana. While at the market, I picked up some traditional African cloth (2 yards) that can be taken to a tailor to make a shirt and some small souvenirs. Thanks to the people I went there with, 2 staff from the guesthouse and 2 other Professional Fellows, I was able to experience the beauty of the Atlantic Ocean which was effortlessly tucked behind the market.
One amazing thing about Accra is the wide variety of shopping options. It has the big shopping malls common to most Westerners. But there is also a whole gambit of roadside vendors selling tons of amazing food. These are amazing examples of entrepreneurship in action.
One final form of retail, which it sometimes crazy, is the inter-traffic, car-to-car salesmen. These are people who walk through traffic carrying their goods (water, cell phone credits, electronics, bath essential, or anything else you may need) and sell through your car’s rolled down windows. It can be quite hectic when you combine the fact you may have to barter on the price and that traffic isn’t at a standstill forever, causing a lot of running on their part.
Next stop: Tamale.
Bus company: STC.
Duration: 13 hours.
Along the bus ride from Accra to Tamale, with a stop in Kumasi, I saw some amazing villages and the beauty of Ghana that I`ve been hearing for a long time. It was quite refreshing to get away from the traffic congestion of the big city and see what lies beyond.
I also experienced some cultural differences while on the road. Like the road side urinals (10 peswas) or toilets (30 peswas). Running water is sometimes a problem, so make sure to bring a bucket of water before you hit the john.
There is also a swarm of vendors trying to sell you food every time you stop in a community. Fish, fried yams, apples, ground nuts, and the ever important bagged water.
Note: the Ghana cedi is trading at approximately 2 GHC to 1 CAD. And their are 100 peswas per cedi.
To give you some context of my travels, I’ve included the map below of Ghana. It is colored coded by the 10 different government regions. These regions are further broken up into districts, totaling 212 overall. The bulk of my team’s work involves the Northern Region, so it is no surprise that the district I am slowly making my way to is located. Have a little bit of fun and try to find Bole – my final resting place.