I'm back from traveling. Actually I've been back for a week but the internet has been down where I usually go. But today I'm in Kumasi and I can tell you all about my great trip.
First we went to Ejura to visit the former project of Rebecca (fellow volunteer from Holland). We spent Saturday and Sunday there and got to see what they were doing at that project. The have had a lot of volunteers over the years so they had a ridiculous amount of excess supplies. So Rebecca gave us some musical instruments, masks, and books that they were not ever using to give to our kids in Tafo. I heard the kids went crazy when they saw the stuff.
On Monday, Me, Rebecca, and another volunteer went to Tamale to spend the night. Our goal was to go to Mole National Park. It is the largest park in Ghana with a huge variety of wildlife and they also offer safaris. We had to wait a day in Tamale for the next bus going to Mole. Tamale is about 10 hours up north from Tafo. The northern part of Ghana is so different that it almost as if we had entered another country. First in the north it unbelievably Hot and DRY! I now know what it would be like to visit a desert. I couldn't drink enough water! Also, although most of Ghana is Christian up North (where's there's a lower population) it is almost 90% Muslim. We also saw a lot of mud adobe houses with straw roofs riding through the towns. There was plenty of donkeys around that people were still using to haul things. Oddly enough, donkeys are really beautiful. It sounds strange but look at one up close.
When we got to Mole, we stayed in the hotel that is actually in the park. So we were literally living with the wildlife. Just driving up to the hotel we saw elephants, monkeys, and wart hogs. In the morning, I went on a walking safari further into the park. You have to go with an armed guide because the animals ARE NOT tame. We are actually watching them in their natural habitat doing what comes natural to them. They don't take care of the animals at all.
So, the first thing we saw were ELEPHANTS! I'm in love with Elephants now. Their so grand and regal. We were by their watering hole. So they came really close to us and were swimming and drinking in the water. I mean I have a picture of me with an elephant right behind me! It was so amazing! We also saw wart hogs, antelope, egrets, a shy monkey, and hidden crocodiles.
Now, I had heard about the Baboons at the park. A friend of Rebeccas' had one jump on her and run off with her bag. And the people at the hotel told us that they come in the afternoon to the hotel and cause trouble. But I still was really anxious to see a Baboon. Me and Rebecca were walking back to our room after buying water and juice and I was complaing about not seeing any Baboons. Well, spoke to soon. All of sudden we saw at least 10 roaming all over the hotel. I was trying to hurry to our room to get a camera, when we saw a really big one in the trash can of the room next to ours. All of sudden, he turned around and started coming for us. We both acted like a couple of little girls and dropped our bags and ran screaming into our room. Or I went to our room, Rebecca in her fear ran to the wrong room and then had to run back to our room. The baboon only took my juice and some children chased him away. But me and Rebecca had a good laugh over that. In my defense, let me say it was a really Big baboon. It could've took me.
I also went to the town next to Mole called Larbanga. It boast of having the oldest mud mosque in Ghana and possibly in West Africa. The mosque has an interesting story that sounds completely made up so I won't share it.
My next trip was by myself further up north to Bolgtanga. I've been reading my fellow volunteers' travel book and read about a couple of places that I wanted to go. First to Paga where they have crocodile ponds and then to Sirigu where they have a community art project.
In Paga, I went to a crocodile pond. Here they consider the crocodile as sacred. They are their totems. So they've been keeping crocodiles for centuries. They are two ponds in Paga. I went to the Chief's pond where they have like 500 crocodiles. I was a little scared but people were washing their clothes in the water and other animals were drinking in the same water where the crocodiles were. So my guide whistled to a crocodile and slowly one started to come forward. He coaxed it out of the water. Then he took a picture while (you won't believe this) I sat on it and another picture of me holding it's tail. I swear I have photographic proof. I sat on a crocodile! Also, in Paga I went to the Pikworo slave camp. It was one of the major camp sites for slave traders taking slaves down toward the coast. There were a lot of remnants of the history there. There it is unusually rocky as if maybe there once was a great river running through that area. In the rocks you can see where the slaves carved holes into the rocks to use as bowls. There was also a resonant rock which they used for drumming. The wanted to boost morale so those slaves that drummed and danced got more food. We also visited the punishment rock and the cemetery where they buried the ones who couldn't make it.
My last trip was to Sirigu. Where the women keep up the tradition of painting their houses. The women have started a community project to keep up their traditional arts like house painting, pottery,jewelry making, etc. They had a wonderful gallery full of great things. I bought myself a necklace. I also had a tour of two traditional painted mud compounds.
After all that traveling. I finally returned back to Tafo. I missed all my kids even if some of them are bad.