Monday, March 18, 2013

Accra Adventure

March 13, 2013   - Accra

Our day started off in true Ghanaian style, with us leaving 45 minutes after planned. Sinbad had graciously agreed to act as our tour guide in Accra.

Because buying bus tickets here has to be done in person, the day before, and as Muriel and Sinbad are both better at navigating the system, they went off to buy our bus tickets. The first item on our agenda was to go see the cultural market. In the daylight, the hustle and bustle of the city was even more pronounced. Cabs and tro-tros are 12 passenger vans that are used for cheaper transportation than taxis - although we soon learned that the 12 passenger part is more of a guideline :). It seems that the general theory behind driving is to drive as fast as you can (which is never very fast as there are so many cars) and then brake quickly, swerve from side to side to avoid potholes, and yell or honk for many reasons. Once arriving at the cultural market, we were greeted enthusiastically by the many local vendors. Lets just say it is a lot different than shopping in Canada, as prices are not absolute and people were very excited about the possibility of us buying their treasures. A group of girls got the opportunity to have a drumming session which was fun and refreshing. The Ghanaian people are very gracious and helpful. We ate fried chicken at a restaurant in the market and then we walked through a small neighbourhood towards the ocean. Seeing the ocean was almost teasing as it is very hot here and the water was not safe to swim in. Nevertheless, it was beautiful and offered  nice breeze.

Afterwards, Sinbad lead us throughout the vibrant and busy streets of Accra! Our walk was filled with us counting our group multiple times to make sure we didn't lose anybody. We eventually made our way to one of the poorest areas of Accra where many people have traveled far from the north to find opportunity for themselves or their family. Many of them are alone with no one to care for them during times of illness. Children were seen playing in less than sanitary conditions and very little ones were walking far from their homes to stay with us.  It was fun to take pictures of the kids and show them their photo, hold hands with them and say hello. The houses were mainly constructed of scrap wood and metal, with cooking happening in the front of the house, and open sewers running throughout. Despite the condition of these people's homes, they were very excited to see us with many hellos and waves from them; never once did we feel anything but welcome.  It is encouraging to see how strong the human spirit can be and we saw so much beauty there.  This was inspiring and reminded us to appreciate all the luxuries we take for granted back home and even here as we enjoy many privileges as travelers.  One image that has stuck in all of our minds is the view of a large river or garbage and waste flowing through the city in which there were two small children happily playing. Who needs x-boxes?  We all felt small and humbled after this experience, but it was priceless to witness these places first hand.  So thankful we had Sinbad to guide us through that days adventures!  Safe to say all of us have had our world views expanded.

- Ghana Gals
(Lisa, Tori, Robyn, Marisa, Rose, Megan, Kirsten, Kristen, Crystal, and Jess)

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