Ben's Ghana Adventures

A collection of all the emails that I sent while I lived, worked and travelled around Ghana West Africa from October 10th 2005 to February 10th 2006. Sorry thers a lot but I had a bloody good time living the experiences! Check out to see all my African Photos.

Wednesday, December 07, 2005

Ben's African Adventure 1

October 13th 2005
Ladies and gentlemen, boys and girls and other bizarre creatures I present to you in association with Wipe your Harris Productions, the grand story of.............

Ben's African Adventures!
Yes it is here, after months of waiting and saving up all the money I could get my hands on the time has come. This is the first of hopefully many emails (internet access providing). I will report back to you all the adventures that I undertake and all the tribes I get inaugurated into. I will keep my emails full to the brim of juicy news and African tales. Hopefully I will be able to get to a computer with internet access at least once a fortnight. But if you dont hear from me in a while, dont despair. I hopefully wont have been abducted by Ashanti tribesmen, I will just probably be in the desert somewhere or on safari!!!!!
So lets rock then, here is the account of my very first impression of Africa.

I boarded a plane full of enthusiasm, expectancy and adventure. I wasnt going to be dissapointed!

The plane landed in Kokota International Airport on the outskirts of Accra in Ghana. I stepped off the plane and the heat hit me. There isnt one word that can sum up the heat. It was like a breeze block falling on you from a height. The sweat poured from me like I had been running a marathon. Stifling, scorching, humid, sweltering, blistering, excruciating and exhausting are a few ways to sum up the heat.
The airport was plunged into darkness as all the power went out while I was at passport control, but never the less they stamped my passport anyway.

We were picked up and spent the night at the Pink Hostel in downtown Accra. I met the other volunteers there who would be spending the first week with me before going off to their volunteer positions in various parts of Ghana.
There are 3 Brits, one Dane, One kraut, One swede and two Dutch people with me, they are all good fun and we have all clicked.
The first night was spent in the hostl bar drinking Club beer and introducing ourselves, we could hear the huge croaking of the frogs outside. So far the German thinks I am an Australian.

The next day (today) our first full day in Ghana we all went exploring. The first port of call was the bank. I changed up 40 pounds and managed to get a huge wod of notes that bulges out of my wallet. The demonenations are huge. As we walked down the road all the locals shouted 'Obroni' which means white man. A little kid came up to me and kissed my hand!! I dont know why but everyone shakes your hand and hugs you.

We went to the Makola market in the Asylum Down area of Accra. No that is the name of the area it is not a mental home. The market was teeming with live crabs in baskets, giant snails as big as my forearm and dried fishes of all sizes. The sights and smells were amaizing I just wanted to walk round for ages taking it all in. By this point it was now mid day and the sun was at its most potent. The sweat drenched off us all and clothes stuck to our skin.

But that didnt put a stop to our exploring. Off to trundled via the aid of a tro tro (bizarre mini bus that pulls over when you make a circle with your finger by the side of the road). Spo off we went to the Kwame Nkuruh memorial park. He was there first independant president and father of Ghana. The museum was full of tributes of him and pictures of him with JFK, Chairman Mao and other world leaders but there was not a single mention of the fact that he was forced to retreat and live in Guinea when there was a military coup in the country!!!!!

Then off to the arts centre where we witnessed dancing galore and drumming. By this time the people trying to sell me bracelets had reached a new high and many were just following us around. The drumming lesson climaxed with a fantastic dancing session and I was plucked from the audience and had to copy and dance with the bare chested Ghanian. I was clapped and cheered and mocked by all the locals who were still chanting 'Obroni'!

Our second full day in Africa was less full and was mostly classroom based. We were taught an intensive course in Twi. Twi is one of the many regional languages. So for example to say hello you say 'Maarchi' and if someone says that to you the reply is 'Yaa Nua' which means I am fine brother!
The dry season is beginning and the heat is becoming more powerful by the second but on a good not our group has arranged to travel and meet each other at their respective placements on the weekends. Henrik the Swede has the same sense of humour as me and already we are causing trouble and he is teaching me how to swear in both Swedish and German.
All the German, Dutch and Austrian girls cannot understand a word I say. They say I speak a variation of museum and broadcasters English with a hint of Eastenders thrown in! Also the Dutch girl in our group Catherine cannot believe that I am English and reckons I am Italian. This caused much humour with the Ghanian reperesentatives that we are working with as they now call me Benito and say I dress like an Italian! I just dont understand it at all!

We also have had a proper drumming lesson and I managed to master the one, two, three times five re[petition of the tribal drumming. The dancing was much harder and I was told by the insuructor that I was too violent and looked like a boxer. I will stick to the drumming I think!

What else can I tell you. Oh any one can drive a car, so the roads are deadly and the cars are falling to peices. The money is next to worthl;ess. I changed up fifty American dollars in to Ghanian cedi's and I was almost a millionnaire. The money is falling to peices too.

Now I am at the computer waiting to go out and sample the Ghanian night life. But I wont drink too much as ever drains by the side of the road are open and three feet deep with sewage ripe in them.

Best be off then.
Take care all and keep in touch

x x x


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