Ghana Reflections

Where to begin? Ghana was overwhelming… this being my first travel experience to a developing country. The mass of people scratching out a living… open sewers, children dodging in and out of traffic to sell their wares, insanely dangerous driving conditions, the realization that white skin = dollar signs, the disparity between the white hotel guests and the entirely African hotel staff, the stifling humidity and Sahara sands. It was like a living National Geographic experience. I felt such a mixture of amazement and respect for these people who are scraping together a life with so few material resources, guilt for my good fortune, fear from venturing waaay outside my comfort zone, and gratefulness for the ability to be awakened to a whole different world. It’s all still sinking in, and I definitely look forward to returning next month when Todd has another long layover. I want to reach a point of comfort and ease within this culture. To gain more insight and understanding. I want to feel like I’ve made some sort of personal connection. This trip was dipping my toe in the pool… I want to eventually be able to dive right in.

Labadi Beach beyond the roped off hotel area.

Canopy tour in quickly diminishing rain forest.

St. George Castle, Elmina, Ghana

A former slave castle where slaves were held in unimaginable conditions for months before being shipped overseas. This is the door they would travel through from their dungeons to board the slave ships.

Elmina, Ghana

Elmina, Ghana

Elmina, Ghana

Typical home in Elmina.

Fishing is the main livelihood in Elmina. These fish are smoked and sold all over the region.

Accra, Ghana

So this is what a taxi ride to the market in Accra looks like: hot, sweaty, squishy fun…

zipping through red dusty streets with sights of women carrying amazing loads on their heads… buckets of tomatoes, baskets of laundry… ending at the “market”…. basically what appeared to be a shanty town of small stalls manned by eager salesmen and saleswomen each vying for our attention and wanting to show us their “special” wares… stall after stall of carved masks, beaded jewelry, drums, wooden giraffes and such. I wished we could buy something from each one.

Our first night, we walked on the beach after passing through the hotel gate manned by a security guard. The “safe” hotel area was roped off for the guests, keeping the women wanting to paint our nails, men wanting to give us horseback rides, and necklace salespeople at bay. We were stopped every few feet as soon as we left the roped area by our new “friends.” There was a lively scene just a little ways down the beach with drummers/dancers, sand sculptors and such.

Yes!

My motto for 2011 is Yes! Yes to pie on New Year’s Day (diet shmiet)!

 

Yes to seeing new places, learning new things, and meeting new people!

Happy New Year!