Adventures in Ghana

Hello and welcome! I’ll be sharing some travel posts here for the next couple of weeks. Some of you may know (and for those of you who don’t) my husband, Chief Suale is a Chief of the Dagomba tribe in northern Ghana. Because of our responsibilities, his duties and family being in Tamale, we travel to Ghana throughout the year. These adventures are from our recent trip.

Arrival into Accra, Ghana West Africa

Ghana – West Africa, here I come!

Arriving in Accra at 8:00pm has moments of glee and patience. Excitement because I’m about to see my husband, whom I haven’t seen in nearly two months and patience because of the time required to get through Ghana customs and retrieve luggage.

First I must explain, two months is actually a very short time for my husband and I to be apart. While that may seem long to most, it’s merely a blip on the radar in our timeline

Freedom from the Internet 

Before the approval of his visa, Chief Suale and I would go several months without seeing each other due to him being in Ghana and me in the US. Sure, we had Skype videos, telephone calls and texts, but you also must understand that in Ghana, the internet isn’t always accessible and in some places it’s spotty at best.

The Internet – a go go but maybe a little slow slow or even a no show (at times) in Ghana.

We tend to take the internet for granted in the USA without a second thought. Once you open your phone or computer, boom! Congratulations! You’re on the internet! However, in Ghana you can be without internet access for several hours and sometimes even days. Brown/black outs are frequent here and having a wifi router in your own home doesn’t guarantee internet coverage especially with the heavy, monsoon rains that come during the rainy season. 

One can view this as a gift or a curse. What I decided when I first came to Ghana is this: being in this country and the ability to travel is a unique and incredible offering that I believe is a blessing. I view the unpredictability of the internet as a welcome repose: to step away from my devices and enjoy the freedom of being off the grid.

 

If you haven’t taken a break from technology and being online, I highly recommend it. One thing Ghana continues to teach me is the beauty and power of presence and to relish each moment.    

Languages

Back at the airport, I go through customs which takes over an hour (primarily waiting in line) and where the friendly customs agent photographs me and scans my fingerprints. Ghana doesn’t mess around with incoming visitors.

My agent is young women in her twenties and I greet her Dagbanli (the native language of the Dogombas) and she greets me it Twi, which is the most widely spoken language in Ghana, in particular Accra. We both laugh at my attempt and ultimately snafu of speaking the Dagbanli language.

She says in Twi:

Akwaaba Miss Stacy.

which means welcome. In Daganli it’s: Amaraba so you can see the similarities.

Overall there are nine official government languages in Ghana and several more that are used in the bush and rural areas. These languages are beautiful and arduous to learn so I’m taking my time to fully study the language bila bila – meaning little by little.

The sweet customs agent stamps my passport and I’m off again to another customs security officer to check my passport and visa one last time before I proceed to baggage claim.

Chief Suale  

After waiting for nearly an hour, I grab my bags off the luggage carousel when a security guard comes to me and asks:

Are you Napag Stacy?

I’m perplexed. How this security guard knows me, I have no idea.

Yes. I respond.

Please come with me. Your husband is waiting in the VIP area.

He grins and ushers me and my luggage out of the busy baggage claim area.

Chief Suale

We round the corner, and there he is, my beloved Chief Suale with his beaming smile and shining eyes. A rush of pure joy fills me as my heart pounds; much like the feeling when I first set my eyes on him in Ghana five years ago. His kindness and strength are palpable and after sixteen hours of air travel and nearly two hours of waiting within the Accra airport, my fatigue melts and we embrace. 

It’s nearly midnight when we arrive at our hotel and we both fall fast asleep after a very long and grueling twenty four hours. I wake up the next day at 10:00am to discover we only have a 1/2 hour to eat breakfast and check out of our room. We scramble to make ourselves presentable; I don’t think I’ve ever seen my husband get ready so quickly in order to make breakfast. One must not miss a free meal no matter the time or circumstances! 

The Wonderment of Kokrobite

The Bojo Beach Resort in Kokrobite.

After checking out, Chief and I decide to stay an extra day in Kokrobite; a beach town located just outside of Accra. My husband is familar with the area because a fellow drummer friend used to live there roughly fifteen years ago. I book a hotel online and off we go! I love that we both have a great deal of curiosity and spontaneity; these two ingredients can often lead to many unexpected and thrilling adventures.

Along our drive through the city of Accra, thousands of people are going about their daily work; shops along the street are bustling with activity and at traffic lights, individuals come to our car windows persuading us to buy their products, which could be anything from chewing gum to hunting knives and machetes.

Life on the Sea 

Ghana recently celebrated their Republic Day, when they became a sovereign country from England. We arrive at our 2nd hotel, the Bojo Beach Resort and since most people came and went during the holiday, there are now only a few other guests here; making it the perfect reprieve for rest and relaxation. Chief and I stroll over to the beach where we discover a lone table out on the pier. We take our seats, order dinner and observe the waterway brimming with life.

Several graceful, Ghanaian gondoliers transport passengers up and down the waterway to their destinations. The long staffs propel their boats with grace and ease, gliding through the water.

A gathering of fishermen wrestle with their nets, hauling them into their boats as they set sail towards the ocean in hopes of a fruitful evening catch.

Fisherman preparing their nets for night fishing.

Across the waterway, women with large bowls balanced on top of their heads have wares to sell on the beach.

Mind you, all of these boats; both the water taxis and fishing boats, are row boats or gondoliers. None of these seafaring vessels are motorized or have any lights or a source of illumination to speak of.

While the sun sets, the fishermen swat at the water with their paddles as their large row boats surges out towards the sea. I’m awestruck by their courage and navigation skills to attempt this feat at night with only the guidance of the stars.

Watching these individuals in their tireless, daily routine is fascinating and humbling. You can feel their hard work dripping off their brows after a long, strenuous day and yet, there is also laughter and elation in their animated faces and interaction. Perhaps this is what it means to live a full and rich life; to do good, honorable work while enjoying the people around you and the journey along the way. 

Women selling their wares on the beach.

 

6 replies
  1. Elizabeth Ridgeway
    Elizabeth Ridgeway says:

    Stacy I loved entering your life in Ghana…your heartfelt descriptions make me wish to hop on a plane and join you..Much love to you both…

    Reply
  2. Anne McGinn
    Anne McGinn says:

    So beautiful to hear about your trip. You speak so lovingly and from the heart Stacy. Many blessings to you ❤️ BTW my brother John lived in Ghana serving in the first group of the Peace Corps in 1961. He taught English in Kadjebi. He died in 1963 and the school he taught in created a memorial library in his name.

    Reply
    • napagstacy2018
      napagstacy2018 says:

      Thank you Anne! How lovely your brother was in Ghana with the Peace Corps. His sharing and being of service was and continues to be an incredible gift.The library is an exquisite way to remember him and all that he offered and shared. Much love.

      Reply

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