Published: September 29th 2010September 29th 2010
Port 3… Ghana
Once again, a whole new world, nothing like I expected but it still blew me away. Every port is different and so interesting. I woke up to an oil ship across the harbor with four helicopter pads on it. We arrived in Takoradi around 8 o’clock but weren’t allowed to leave till 10 because the Ghanaian officials had to go through our passport and stamp everything, plus they had to look and make sure everyone had their yellow fever shot. A lot of friends planned Field Practica (class field trips) for the first day there. I felt like there wasn’t many of us where left on the ship. Luckily, Colin, Emi, and Zack were so we all went down to the market. As we were walking, a nice man stopped and started talking to us and tried to let us buy bracelets from him, however we had no currency and told him that so he gave us all one for free. When we walked out of the gate of the port we were swarmed by people. Asking if we want taxis, to buy things or where we were from. It was crazy to be surrounded and be the
minority for once. It was very interesting to see everyone so nice. While walking to the market we stopped by the ATM and got some money for the market. When we arrived at Market Circle it was crazy. I thought it would be like stands and fruits, but inside was beads, dried fish, and corn, lots of meat and hooves of animals. It smelt very weird, but it was very cool to see the families working in this market. The women had little kids on their backs just wrapped around them in cloth, and children were working too. The craziest part by far was that everything was actually carried on their head. Colin tried to take a picture in the market but once his camera came out everyone like screamed and told him to put it away. Apparently you aren’t allowed to take pictures of the place.
As we got out of the market we walked around side streets and got lost. Emi and Zack went back to the ship so it was me with Colin. It was fun because people would come up to us and ask where we were going, if we needed directions, and what we were
looking for. We had a map and it listed a restaurant to eat at so we tried to get there. Once we arrived however, it was a hole in the wall that I didn’t think looked okay to eat at. We asked the next door hotel where they recommended eating and we went there instead. Colin and I had sausage kebabs and octopus kebabs but were still hungry. So we ordered fish and banku having no idea what to expect. Banku was this starchy cooked fermented corn dough. GROSS! We had to eat the whole meal with our fingers and Colin gave me the head of the fish. It was fun. We walked back to the ship and saw some little shops set up by the port. We looked around a bought a few things then headed back to the ship for dinner. At this point I started to itch from being so hot and humid, but I didn’t think anything of it.
At night we went out to ocean bar where some locals recommended. I played pool with a few friends and just hung out for the night. Then went back to the ship to get ready for our
exciting next day. The taxi ride home was very interesting. We shoved 5 of us in a 4 person taxi and on the way home it stalled many times. Once was even on a hill and we were rolling backwards! I thought it was hilarious and couldn’t stop laughing. But by the time we got back to the ship I was ready for bed.
After getting up for breakfast, which was amazing. I had French toast and chocolate croissants with a banana and cantaloupe. I found out they switch off between pancakes and French toast, so now I know which days I love and don’t. But after breakfast about 15 of us were planning on going to Kakum National Forest. It is one of West Africa’s surviving tropical rainforests. They have a canopy walk where you walk above the rain forest. It was a two hour drive there and it was crazy. The drivers don’t care how they drive. American are definitely no longer the worst drivers ever. Occasionally down the road would be police stops and we would see them standing there with AK47s. Very intimidating, but the drive was very interesting. There were huts and houses
along the sides. There were advertisements all over. As we drove by everyone would wave to us because we were different. After the two hours we finally got to Kakum. It was by far the coolest and most beautiful thing I have ever seen. We got there and it was raining….raining in the rain forest.. Go figure. We ran into the semester at sea group and they were super bummed because they didn’t get to see monkeys. But after the short walk to the canopy we were walking 40 meters above the trees. It stopped raining at this point and we were looking at a beautiful view. Before we knew it the trees were moving and we saw monkeys! I was so happy, they were so cute. They had brown and grey ones and black and white ones. We spent about two hours on the canopy and walk. We were on our way back from the hike when a man had a booth set up with coconuts so all of us got coconuts. The guy chopped the top off with a machete and we drank the milk inside first, and then had the meat. It was definitely interesting, but not
to enjoyable. Lunch was fish and rice that sat in the car for 2 hours as we hiked. I said no and ate a power bar. After lunch we went to this other restaurant where you can feed crocodiles/alligators. I am still unaware of what the difference is and which we saw. I was bummed when we were leaving because we didn’t see the crocodile snap at anything or eat because it wasn’t feeding time. But then a waiter stopped me and a friend and gave us bread to toss in. We tossed the bread in, which fish swarmed, which made the crocodile snap. Oh the food chain.
After that we went to the cape coast castle and slave dungeons. Words are so hard to describe how I felt there. It was interesting, yet very sad. Thousands of people died and were traded all by the British. It was something very cool to learn about. At the end of the tour they showed us a plaque that president Barack Obama put up. It was cool knowing he went to Ghana first after his presidency. By this time I was starving because I didn’t eat the lunch we had. We
made a two hour car ride back to the ship and made it home for dinner. I was so excited. However, I was still very itchy from the heat. I ate dinner, and took a cold shower and Benadryl to stop the itching. I was getting ready to go but could stop itching so I called my mom freaking out. I broke down in tears and she told me to go to the doctors. The doctor gave me itching cream and said it was most likely a heat rash I shouldn’t be too worried. She said it was smart about the Benadryl and that I should go to bed. So I went to bed.
I woke up to breakfast and just had cereal today. Cheerios are always so amazing, typically I put bananas in them, but since I am in Ghana and worried about malaria I don’t plan on eating many bananas. Mosquitoes are attracted to them. After breakfast I took my semester at sea trip to the water village. This was a very interesting trip. It was a two hour drive out to the village which turned into three. Our busses clutch went out for a while
and started over heating so we pulled over and waited for a while. Then the last 45 minutes of the road was all bumpy since Ghana only has about 30 miles of paved road in the country. It was sad, because I was tired and definitely wanted to sleep. But it gave me a chance to look outside at all the scenery. It was lush rainforest, then little towns full of shacks. By the time we got to the building where we were going we grabbed bright orange life jackets and hopped in canoes. These canoes were made out of tree trunks and fit 5 people. It was an hour ride through two small forests. My canoe was first which was nice because we wanted to see wild life; however we were so loud we never got the chance. After that we finally made it to the village. It was all on stilts. It was so interesting. Kids were just out in the swamp swimming having fun. Many of the ladies were just lying down and doing laundry, or starting lunch. We then attended a meeting about the village and left on another hour canoe ride back. After the canoe
ride it was lunch time. I had chicken and rice, but I wasn’t starving. I ate a few bites, and then some kids came up and asked for it. I gave it to them, they fought over it and I was super sad I couldn’t give them more. My friend josh noticed how hungry they looked and pushed his plate to them too. We wish we could do more, but we knew that was good enough for what was in our control. We got back on the bus, and then started to a fort right down the street. This fort was part of the slave trade too. However, we weren’t allowed to go in this time. After that we were back on the bus towards the MV Explorer. After a 2 hour ride we got back to the ship.
A group of 5 of us went down to the market to look for our souvenirs, but we never found a place that had the ones we wanted. We found some, and just have to deal with not having the others. Takoradi, Ghana is definitely not like Spain or Morocco where many tourist or visitors go. After we finished walking around
we decided to go to dinner. We were recommended a place called Captain Hooks. So, me, Colin, Brad, Josh and Newman went. BEST DINNER OF MY LIFE! I had sea food spaghetti. Pasta, with shrimp, lobster and calamari. Brad and Colin had deep fried shrimp, lobster and calamari. Newman and Josh both got pizza which was also amazing because I haven’t had pizza in so long. We all just shared with each other. Then dessert was the best. I had a deep fried banana with honey and ice-cream! AMAZING. I wish I got more but I split it wish Josh. Then Newman got a banana split. Colin and Brad were so full from their dinner they didn’t eat anything. After that we went back to the ship to go to bed.
Today was a very low key day. I didn’t have much planned because I did everything I already wanted to and I didn’t want to take a two hour taxi somewhere when transportation isn’t too reliable. So I got up for breakfast and then went to type a few paragraphs of a paper I have due in the upcoming week. After that I watched a movie and
then had lunch with friends. My friends all went to get internet and I walked with them partially to the end of the port where shops were set up. I looked around and bought a few gifts and souvenirs. Then I went up to the duty free store to hang out with people and watch the soccer game. I found out they had internet there but I didn’t really feel the need to get on too much. I drank 2 bottles of wine with people so by the time we were back on the ship we felt great and were ready for dinner. By the time we got back on the ship it was time for dinner. I ate then went and called my mom. It was great, we talked for a long time and it was nice to tell her about things that aren’t always easy to type and explain. Then I said hi to my dad and before I knew it, the ship was leaving. After we left we had our post reflection groups where everyone talks about what they did. Everyone seemed to have loved Ghana more than Morocco, but I still think Morocco was better. I
guess it depends about the experiences you have and who you travel with. Some people just ruin it for you.
Ghana in general was a great place. Everyone was so kind and helpful. They would take you where you needed and they just wanted to be around you. It was really awesome. It shocked me a lot though to see some SAS people act the way they did and not take any consideration to the locals. This port really put things into perspective to me. I can see how they are living at the bottom of Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs just trying to grasp the physiological getting shelter food and water. While we are up on top at the personal level doing whatever we want. It is just interesting.
Another cool thing about our trip in Ghana was Desmond Tutu got an award while he was there. The award is originally awarded in December, but he will be with us then so he got it early. 5 students from semester at sea got to go with him to get this award. I am way jealous, but I still had a good time.
There are more photos below