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 4

November 6th 2005
Sit down, starp yourself in and let the fun begin. Yes it's that time again. You have guessed it, it is the fourth installment of Ben's African Adventure. So are you sitting comfortably? Then I shall begin...... So much has happened since I last wrote that I dont know where to start from. The beginning is the best place I suppose, so here goes. Andy and I were informed by our host family that we were to attend the funeral of our host sisters grandmother. We found out that the family that we live with is very bizarrely related and incestious. Everyone seems to not be an actual relation but somehow they are all brothers and sisters. As it transpires Nana was marrried before and some of the kiids are from another relationship and others from his current wife who lives in London. But it is most confusing as only some of them went to the funeral. The funeral itself from unlike anything I have been to before. Everyone is in balck and red and there is loud music, drumming prosessions where they carry the massive ornate white coffin shoulder high through the town and also dancing. A funeral is a 3 day affair and the partys go on all night. I was made to dance in the street on command many a time. After our antics at the funeral we thought life couldnt get any strabger, but how wrong we were. We were taken by Nana in his full ceremonial ornate clobber to the inaugeration of the new queen mother of the village of Nyarkom. This was a huge affair with all the local chiefs coming out to play. They all tried to outdoo each other on grandness. Nana wore a golden robe with many large golden chains and rings. Many other chiefs carried golden staffs and wore crowns. Some had large entourages with them of drumers, men carrying large fans and also slaves carrying parasols for them. All the chiefs sat on thrones and made long speeches in fante and twi that I couldnt understand a word of. Then as I was beginning to nod off and get bored in the head, out came the goat. Yes you have guessed it they sacfificed the goat and poured its blood over the sacred stones to perform a ritual called 'livation', this is a homage to the gods. But we didnt look out of place in amongst all this grandness. Not at all, because Sister Doris had made Andy and myself matching bright ornage Kente cloth print African shirts. She measured me and mine is huge and very hot to wear as it is so thick and has a black lining. The trouble is Andy and myself look like the bloody chuckle brothers wearing them and kept on repeating 'to me, to you' all day. In our village I have become quite the local celebrity, everywhere I go hoards of screaming children follow me and I now can tell them off in fante 'mon koh firi', (all of you bugger off home). The adults think this is hilarious, but on a good note I am not called obroni anymore but I am always met with cries of 'Hello Mr. Ben'. I was even shouted at my the Queen mother of Kwanyako when I was out running along the Accra road. She went by in a tro tro leaning her large frame out of the window and shouting at me for being mad! We are now on half term holiday from school, or mid term as they call it. So I have a break from teaching my English lessons and football. My classes have gone down in size as they have sorted the first year into three sections: Home economics, Agriculture and arts. So where I was origionally teaching classes of 75 upwards I am now only teaching classes of about 45. I am also the form tutor of the first year agriculture students, but they are in some building on the other side of the field and there class room is constantly invaded by goats and chickens. The school football team is coming oalong leaps and bounds. We have been training twice daily, 5.30am and at 3pm. We were all ready for our first game of the season. So we loaded the school truck up (30 kids both girls and boys teams) all crammed into the back of the truck and then we drove to a place called Nsaba where the game was to be played. When we got there it turned out that the match wasnt to be played in Nsaba but in Bremen Akisuma another 20 odd miles away. By now we were late for the kick off, so the truck took me and the boys to the school and we ran straight on to the pitch without warming up all stiff from being crammed into a truck and lodt 4-0. I was shouting like a mad man on the side lines but our team were awful. All the training I had done went out of the window as they forgot how to pass to feet, mark up and tackle. It was abismal and I cringed while I watched the game. ASfter the match the mad deputy head turned up and asked me to come with him. So off I went, I assumed that we were walking towards the town but he led me into the bushes pulled down his trousers and proceeded to deposit the most noisy turd I have ever heard. Charming, and he wanted me to come with him. When he was quite finished (by this point I had sneaked off to a safe 100yards away) I thought that maybe we are going into the town now but oh no we went back to the school, so he wanted me to come with him while he did his business in the woods. What an odd man! Then all the kids crammed into the back of the truck and we headed off back to Kwanyaku. By this time it was dark and the truck didnt have any lights, so we drove home very slowly and pulled over and put the one working indicator on when a car approached. We were also stopped by three police check points and searched, the driver at one point got in to a rather heated argument with one police man. (The police are checking for armed robbers). Yesterday Andy, Henrik from Sweden and Monique from Holland and myself all went to Kakum national park. It was fantastic, we walked the high up canopy walk. The whole thing looked like it was going to fall apart at any moment but we survived none the less. Monique was terrified of heights so she screamed when I started to bounce up and down making the whole walkway jerk violently and make cracking noises. The views from the canopy walk were spectacular but unfortunately we didnt see any forest monkeys or thew elusive forest dwelling elephant as we were making far far too much noise and giggling all the time while large ants attacked us. As we are all on a break from school, we all deciided to actually see the places where other volunteers are staying. As we are all dotted arounf the Agona region in little villages and make the pilgrimmage to the bar in Swedru every Wednesday. So last Thursday Andy, Nynke the Dutch girl and myself went to the village of Ajumarko to see carla and Monique. There village is nicer than ours as their roads are surfaced and dont have pot holes the size of sumo wrestlers in them. But while there we saw a tro tro hit two goats and the driver got attacked by angry villagers. That day we also went to the town of Mankessim where there are large shrines called Posubans. Next weekend we are going to the beach and the weekend after we are having a reunion with the girls who we were with in Accra, who are coming down from Kumasi to see us. We have also planned to go to the Volta region in December with a canadian girl who we met in Swedru and we are hpoing to make the marathon trewk up north to Mole national park to go on a safari. But thats still to come in the months ahead. As for now I am living with the stragest family in the world, and Nana has worn nothing but a toewl for a week now. The oddest thing is that when you go out into the village at night the guys from the house try and hold your hand! In Ghana you see loads of men of all ages holding hands, it is a friendship thing, but it really makes me laugh when Thomas and Frank try to grab me and walk with me. Oh Thomas wants me to take him on in a drinking competition with the drink of Apetishi. It is some strange strong spirit that tastes of earth and wood. All Ghanians love it. Well I better be off as I have wrote far too much for you all to read. I am in Cape Coast now and now going to the beach with three Dutch girls so it should be fun. Take care one and all. I will see you again for another fun packed episode of Ben's African Adventures. Sleep tight Ben x x x


Post a Comment

<< Home