Published: July 27th 2009July 14th 2009
Our housemate described Ada Foah as a place where you "fish and sleep on sand" so I wasn't sure what to expect when we ventured there for a weekend.
The tro-tro from Accra dropped us off in a dark empty market place, frequented only by a couple of goats drinking from puddles of mud. Met by Theo, the owner of our accommodation, we were led down a sandy pathway to the edge of a river.
As we waited, contemplating the randomness of the evening so far, a woman shored up beside us and began to unload a giant pile of logs with her small child. Feeling guilty for just watching her work, a couple of us offered our services and soon we had a group of oburuni (many of us still in our office clothes) clambering about with heavy, charcoal-covered logs.
Eventually a small boat shored up beside us and Theo helped us all climb aboard. We skimmed over the dark expanse of water, bordered only by the silhouettes of palm trees in the distance, further and further into the silent darkness like some Greek mythological Hades.
Far from hell, however, a distant light swiftly expanded into
a fire, where we found some of the other volunteers lounging about a late-night bonfire in a sandy paradise. Keen to join them, we splashed out of the boat and onto the shore, like shipwrecked sailors eager to find land. We spent the evening sipping on beer and lounging around in hammocks before retiring to sleep in tiny little beach huts just big enough for a bed and mosquito net.
In the morning, we ventured off again in the boat in search of a rum distillery, where we sampled the local liquor (it would have been rude not to) and then bought a bottle or two, packaged in litre water bottles.
The patch of sand we were staying on (difficult to describe as anything else) was wedged between a calm estuary and billowing waves of the ocean.
While some of the boys attempted to fish, Carolyn and I walked along the beach to the nearest village. Unfortunately we weren't really dressed for the occasion, having come straight off the beach and the first woman we met explained that we would not be able to walk any further without suitable dress. Then she more or less escorted us off her land.
The beach on the sea side would have been absolutely beautiful if it wasn't for the shocking amount of litter. Plastic bags, old shoes and old packaging strewn the shore, turning the potential paradise into a dumping ground.
On our walk back, we saw a dead dog. Then, as we stood there sadly looking at its decrepit body in the sand, a man came along, dropped his trousers and went for a poo. No joke. The beach isn't just a rubbish dump, it's a dumping ground for human waste too.
We returned from our walk announcing that we had been ostracised from a village and seen a man shit on a dead dog. Traumatising, but quickly forgotten after we broke open the rum for an evening of drinking games around the fire on our new-found paradise.