Wednesday, March 9, 2011

March Madness

Wow, it has been a couple of months since leaving Dagbamete and Ghana but lately I have realized how much I am missing everyone and everything, like the goats and chickens running around over the weekend, Joloff rice, palava sauce and yam, and the warm weather.  I discovered my blog a few weeks ago and read it and realized how much my experiences in Ghana have shaped me into who I am today.

Now I am sitting in my night class in my final semester of University learning about how to create a blog.  In this lesson tonight we are learning all about blogging and how to add a video to my blog, so since I have this blog already created I am now going to add a video to it.


Friday, September 3, 2010

Wrapping up the Adventure- Dagbamete

Living in the village of Dagbamete for a few days was definitely an experience I will never forget.  My goal was to experience anything and everything, I ate and learned how to cook some food, participated in many ceremonies, visited the diviner, received a village name, and learned how to drum and dance.  This cultural immersion was an amazing experience and I feel as though I experienced everything possible and more!

Ampesi (boiled yam) and Palava Sauce, my favourite meal!

My sacrificial chicken
Participating in a session with the diviner provided many learning opportunities.  Courtney and I poured libations to our father, and sacrificed money, a bottle of alcohol and chickens at the shrine.  Overall it was a unique experience I will not soon forget.
Pouring libations
Village naming ceremony (pouring libations)
Participating in the naming ceremony was also an experience I was glad I did not miss out on.  While the ceremony was scheduled to begin at 6:30 am and did not begin until 8:00 am, it was worth the wait.  It was initially humourous that I received the name Wetsa because I am the second born twin because I already had that name, but the ceremony made it official.  After the naming ceremony all the villagers recognized me by my name and it made me feel like I had a home in Ghana, a place where I belong.

Community dancing in Dzogadze 

Watching community dancing was a highlight because the entire community came out to participate.  I enjoyed learning to dance and attempting to dance throughout my time in Ghana and participating with an entire community really showed how important music, drumming, and dance are in Ewe culture.

Overall, this trip to Ghana was fantastic and provided me with too many learning experiences and memories to include in one blog.  I hope you enjoyed reading about my adventure and seeing a limited amount of pictures.  Thank you and Akpe.

Thursday, September 2, 2010

I spy with my little eye...

Have you ever witnessed something like this?

Yes, that is a cow riding the back of a motorcycle.  Not a common sight in Canada.

One of the many signs about protecting yourself.
Egg sandwiches were definitely a good start to any morning.  Fried fresh with fresh bread!

Watch Out For The Wildlife (Mole National Park)

Baboons by the pool.
Mole National Park was another memorable adventure.  We arrived at the hotel only to discover that the hotel was booked up.  The hotel solved the problem and Courtney and I, along with the other members of our group, were guided down a “secret path” that looked like it had not been used in a  while.  Courtney and I both thought that we were being guided into a forest to be murdered in Africa, but luckily we were not murdered.  We arrived at a nice looking house with a gate out front and then we were invited into the living room.  There were enough couches for all of us to sit on and we were not sure where we were staying or what was going on.  We thought the room we were in would make a wonderful place for all of us to sleep, although some of us would have to sleep on the floor. Then Nathan, a professor who traveled with us from the University of Ghana, told us that there are 3 rooms, so the guys will have the master bedroom because there is a bathroom attached to it, and the girls will divide into the two other rooms and share the bathroom in the hallway.  We looked at the rooms and they were the nicest we have seen since arriving to Africa.  Now this may not be a big deal to some people, but we thought it was pretty exciting.  We were staying in The Presidential Suite!  No big deal.  When people from our group ordered food or drinks from the bar we had to say which room we were in and whenever the words Presidential Suite were mentioned heads would turn.  We enjoyed our time by the pool and enjoyed cheap meals at the staff canteen, while enjoying the luxury of the air conditioned Presidential Suite in the evenings.
Warthogs by the path to the Presidential Suite

  Our first day in Mole National Park, the same day we arrived, we were sitting by the pool and were joined by some baboons.  Many people think “oh baboons they must have been so cute.”  NO!  Baboons are not cute, they are ugly and violent and they have very large teeth that could rip you apart with rear ends that look like festering blisters.  So we were joined by some baboons at the pool but they were scared off by a waiter.  Then as we were leaving the pool we came across some warthogs enjoying some grass. Wildlife in Africa is never too far away when you are in a national park.

Elephants on the walking safari
The next day we woke up bright and early to do a walking safari.  We saw many bushbuck, waterbuck, and elephants.  It was a nice safari but it did not compare with our previous safari experience; although it was good for the rest of our group to see African wildlife.

Kumasi Central Market

The crowded Kumasi Market.

A few hours at the Kumasi market were definitely enough to get a "flavour" of shopping in one of the largest markets in Ghana. This market is very difficult to describe.  It was probably the size of West Edmonton Mall with all the essential items anyone would need.  It was like an outdoor Wal-mart at Christmas time.  The rows between each booth were very crowded and full of people, we passed through the “grocery section” that contained a butcher section with fresh meat.  The butchers had wanted me to purchase some tripe but I politely refused because I don’t have a pan to cook it in, or a recipe… or a stove, or any desire to touch it.  We then headed to the clothing/ material section, then to the shoe department, and somehow ended up in the “home improvement” section where you could purchase your very own machete for “a good deal”.  I was not sure how Canadian customs would feel about me bringing a machete home so I decided not to spend my money.

Kakum National Park Canopy Walk

This experience was one I would recommend to anyone who has the opportunity.  Whether it is in Ghana, Canada, or any other country around the world, it is definitely worthwhile. 

The Canopy walkway at Kakum National park was amazing.  We did not arrive early enough in the morning to see birds, but the trees looked beautiful and the butterflies were visible.  It was great being able to see the forest from a different point of view.

Street Food

One major highlight of this entire adventure was wondering where my next meal or snack would come from.  The night market on campus provided me with my dinners for approximately the value of $1 Canadian.  Joloff, plantain, and Gari have become my favourite dinner, along with a pineapple for dessert. Buying cookies was also an exciting adventure, especially when it was off of a tray from someone's head from my seat in the tro-tro.

Enjoying some maise in Cape Coast.
The amount of food and variety of food available on the street is also impressive.  You can purchase sugar cane, maise (wild corn, usually grilled and dipped in salt water), cookies and almost any snack you can think of.  Who needs a convenience store when you can buy everything by just walking up one street and down the next?  Even if you just want a quick snack there is always something for sale on the side of the road.