Sunday, 6 March 2016

Northen Ghana trip

Happy Independence Day Ghana!!!!!

Since the last blog we have handed over books to Abenta and Gboloo-Kofi, said goodbye to Brendan and travelled up north.

The books were received well in both Abenta and Gboloo-Kofi. They have responded well to everything we have taught and supplied so far so we are confident they will be used. Thankfully the day after we gave them out we saw Gyampoh (vbv worker and teacher at Abenta) leading the way and using them with his class :) We also gave out some resources as rewards to Abenta for their hard work with phonics. The improvement with the reading tests was amazing.

It was very strange saying goodbye to Brendan as he has been constant the whole time here. We have seen many people come and go but this was different. We had a meal at his house, first ones - honoured :) Lots of reminiscing, deep talking and laughs (sums up our times together).

Quinn's humble abode

Our northern trip has been amazing, we are so glad we braved the huge amounts of travelling to do it. Our journey started with staying at a monastery half way between Techiman and Tanoboase.

We stayed in separate rooms - being a monastery, they don't have double rooms

There we met George, Christy and Jerica - with them we shared the awkwardness of silence at dinner time whilst someone read out a mixture of scripture and catholic literature. It was an experience though. George and Christy are married and live in Ghana, they met here. Jerica is Christy's friend visiting from Canada. We joined our new friends the next day to see Tano Sacred Grove, Ghana Permaculture Insitute ( and the monkey sanctuary. They had their own vehicle so this helped us out a lot.

Christy and Jerica

Tano Sacred Grove. This is after I took a nasty tumble down a rock :( The whole place had been caught in a fire so there were fallen trees and thorns everywhere.

House made out of tyres. Recycling old material and supposedly cooler as the tyres breath.

Me feeding a mona monkey. Such a lush experience. These creatures are so intelligent.

Martin feeding the monkey. They are so friendly as they are seen as sacred in this part of Ghana so can't be killed and must be buried like a human

George and Martin, two different ways of climbing a tree :) This tree is 100% hollow on the inside as it grew up the old tree and suffocated it. Nice!

They dropped us at our next destination - Operation Hand in Hand, where we were staying. An incredible bunch of people, residents and workers alike. The people who stuck in my mind are Edina, a worker who took us on a tour and showed such love to the children (she had moved from Wa just to work here), Elizabeth, a 7 year old who arrived in Sept and has such great personality (she does not let her lack of speech stop her from communicating), Miriam, a gorgeous 4 year old with down syndrome who was abandoned at the gate two years ago, James, a little boy with cerebal palsy who loves cuddles and playing on the see saw, Kwame Evans, a young man with cerebal palsy who is a fantastic artist, Ineke, the amazing lady who founded all this in 1992, Bob, Ineke's husband who has such a fantastic personality and breaks into song mid sentence (what my dad will be like at 85) and finally, Bridget, who is 28 years old, has cerebal palsy and is an excellent weaver - I have bought a book of hers that she dictated to Ineke, she inspires me with her spirit.

Elizabeth and Martin on the swing

Lodz getting involved with some footy

M'Afia showing Martin that the little figurine is him

James and Elizabeth :)

Kwame Evans, the amazing artist, standing in front of just some of his art

Bob Maram (Dad in 20 years :) )

Next stop - Kintampo. We had a lovely time at the falls. We went early enough and on a sunday that we were the only tourists. Very tranquil.

We had a bit of a wait but finally made it in Tamale. We were both grateful to arrive as the tro tro was jam packed. The place we were staying had lovely staff that went above and beyond. We went on a lovely tour around a near by village where we watched (and sometimes had a go at) local skills such as cotton spinning, pot making and shea butter production. Body shop buys from this remote village, I couldn't believe it - I hope they pay a fair price. Our guide Abu was a legend and afterwards we met Walisu, who started it all.

Traditional huts in the north, the palace is designed in the same way which was a nice touch. The round huts are for the women in the family (mother and wife) and the square huts are for the men. Smaller round ones for animals. Sons get huts built for them when they are a certain age but daughters don't as they are intended to marry and with therefore move out. it seems just as communal as Abenta but more focus on just family.

Our cotton spinning teacher laughing at my horrendous effort :) I blamed it on being left handed, but it wasnt that a tall!!!!!

The expert at work, Martin's looked sort of similar :s

We had tasty fufu that afternoon and I bought my 4th book by my favourite author at the mo, Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie, Americanah :) We walked around Tamale and rode in a tuktuk (they call them John Mahama's). We have been having quite different food on the whole - hummous, falafel, pizza, indian :)

The Grand mosque with the busy traffic

'Tuktuk' - best way of travelling around in a hot country, other than air con of course :)

Off up to Bolgatanga. Bad first impression for me at the station but the rest of it has been great. We had some lovely food at the two main restaurants.

Don't get to see many pigs in and around Abenta

1000s of school children marching for independence day :)

Comme Ci Comme Ca - the main restaurant we ate at. This is one of the many out door spaces to eat.

 We intended on going on a tour with 'Tanga Tours' - this would've included Bongo, Sirigu, Paga (sacred crocodiles), Navrongo (Catholic) and Lake Tono. Instead we decided to get severe food poisoning :( So much so that we were convinced it was malaria. This knocked us out for 48 hours (slept most of it and barely ate). We still weren't 100% but were so eager to get back home, Abenta. We went for an air con bus from Bolga to Kumasi but accidently stayed on and therefore did 15hours of travelling in one. This was with a bad tummy :( At least we are home though.

So glad to be back :) Always nice to arrive to the smiles of Margaret, Akua and Abena :)

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