My Time in Ghana
Currently on the plane, on my way to Istanbul, sitting in-between two middle aged men who seem unable to communicate. 3am start did hurt my feelings but oh well, shits gotta get done. Food was shit, therefore the only sufficient food I’ve ate today is a bag of hoola hoops, ham and cheese toastie and 2 chewing gums. Living the high life.
On my final plane for today to Accra airport. 1 hour left out of a 7 hour plane journey from Istanbul, safe to say I’m pretty exhausted. Food was lush on this plane, grilled chicken breast on potato purée. We even have mini TV’s in front of us, snazzy. I watched The Heat, laughed my tits off. I’m already in slight shock as 80% of people on the plane are African, it’s gonna take a while to get use to but it’s fascinating, they are all dressed exotic and talking in Twe (Ghanaian Language). I’m not prepared for the next 3 hour bus journey to our accommodation in Mpraeso, it’s gonna be a bumpy, hot ride but apparently Ghana is alive at night with people still on the streets working and music blaring.
Landed in Accra at 9:30pm, we had to wait for 4 girls, we didn’t leave the airport grounds till 11pm, it is absolutely boiling. So humid I’m sweating everywhere without doing anything. Anyway, after 15 minutes of driving the driver (Alex) pulled into a lay by, said he was gonna get a tire just incase we break down. 30 minutes later he comes back, drive a few metres and a police officer gives us a check over. Turns out the police officer wanted money off us just cause he could, what the fuck for? Just get me in my bed already!! I’ve been travelling since 4am.
Driving on THE most bumpiest road I’ve ever seen or been on. Wouldn’t even go as far as calling it a road, dirt track? Can’t even sleep on the way there because it is just way too bumpy, now I know why he bought a new tire. It is actually ridiculous how hungry I am, the pain is unreal and we still got another hour and half left on bump city.
First day waking up in the Twenedurase house (where I am living), was so tired, first thing I done was have a shower, filled up 2 buckets of cold water and washed myself with a jug, it woke me up alright. The workers in the house made us tea and toast, only for the first morning. Our co-ordinator Rebecca introduced herself and took us all into town to get SIM cards, bread, water etc. Different world out there man, some sights I’ve seen already were incredible and this is just the first day.
Started in a primary school called Sunrise today, jeez. No words to explain my experience. Me, Jess, Harry and Solake were put into KG2 (kindergarten class 2). Ages 8, we done mathematics and English, both lessons they done so well. When break time came that’s when it hit me, oh my fucking god. Well the kids literally just tooty down wherever in the “playground” and pee, bushes for poo. I went over to the older girls and they were dancing, singing, playing games, I got amongst it and they taught me 2 little dance routines which were so fun. In return I put Beyoncé on my phone and done some little dances, they were amazed and couldn’t stop giggling about it, they nagged me to teach them haha. Every kid in that school is sooo loving and grateful for you to even acknowledge them. They are quite hands on, fighting to hold your hand, jumping on you, hanging off you… and that’s for the full time your there. On break time I also witnessed the children eating the shells off the boiled eggs, well… What do you say to that? Later on every volunteer house got together and went to “outreach”, this is basically when we all contribute money to get food, soap, toothbrushes etc and donate it to a community in need. One house even got money together to buy a generator for electricity, not sure of the community name but it was so beautiful, literally looked like Madagascar. The community gave us, what I like to call, a shot of death, it burnt my throat and I was very tipsy off 2, worse than Sambuca, Tequila, anything, you name it, it was 10x stronger, bleuchhh.
The food situation is getting quite ridiculous now. Since I’ve been here all I’ve eat is rice, pasta and eggs. That’s all, no sweets, crisps, zilch. I feel like I’m in I’m a Celeb. The girl that I’m meant to be flying back with is planning on going home early, she’s missing her boyfriend and quite home sick, bless her. So It looks like I’m travelling home on my fucking own.
So today me, Harry and Solake went to the waterfall for a shower after teaching and it was pissing down. The worse rain I’ve seen since being here… I was washing my hair and thought to myself “I’m having a shower in a waterfall whilst its raining, in Africa” what the fuck.
Later on I was stinking with mud etc (no point in the waterfall shower at all), so I decided to have a shower in the rain outside the house. That was an experience mind! The other house came over tonight, everyone got steaming… Couldn’t be bothered to drink. Cape Coast tomorrow for the weekend which I’m really not looking forward to; an 8 hour journey ffs. Why is everything so far away?!
In Oasis hotel, came for food with everyone. I had pizza and chips, it was so nice! There’s a party here tonight and it’s right next to the beach, music is sick and everyone is getting drunk. I’ve had 2 drinks and I just want to go back to our hotel (which is amazing because me Harry and Solake have upped our room to the executive suite which has flushing toilets and warm showers haha.) I just want to go to bed because I’m fucking shattered.
Went on a Canopy walk today it was awesome, always been jealous of Ant & Dec walking on the bridges in imma celeb, was finally able to do that. Solake was so scared, me and Harry absolutely tortured him, bouncing, swaying, shaking the bridge hahaha, he’s such a pussy. Went to a Monkey Forest aswell which was ite, these Deutsch couple own it and they were pretty crazy. After that (yeah it’s been a long day), we went to the Slave Castle which I really couldn’t be bothered to go to but oh well, place was crazy but what absolutely topped it off was we seen a man taking a poo on the beach for EVERYONE to see. He could see us all and looked at us as though we were the ones in the wrong watching him. Physically couldn’t believe what I was seeing with my eyes, he was even on his phone while doing it chilling like it’s nout. Pissed down today, I want a tan mun! Rastafarians were asking us if we wanted Weed in broad daylight, the fee for getting caught with weed out here is 50 cedi (£10), whatttt! All going out for a drink now, last night in luxury and good food so making the most of it before heading back to Mpraeso tomorrow, I don’t want to leave :(
We were all wrecked lastnight, omg. The Sambuca shots taste 10 times stronger here than the UK, fucking lethal. On our way back to Twenedurase, just been in a petrol station and it had PROPER food! Couldn’t believe it! Not amused that no where sells crisps, the substitute for this is ‘Plantain Chips’, which are quite alright to be fair. On bump city now so my fingers are all over the shop, it’s like being on Taggarter (however you spell it) in the fair.
Visited the waterfall again today, was so powerful man!! Came back home, Solake, Harry and Ash went to get some chickens for us to put on the BBQ, not gonna lie I feel a bit sick, they were probably under cooked or gone off. Sound
Back teaching today, was so much better than last week, finally able to take a proper lesson. Me and ash took the older kids which was much more bearable, I went over the circulatory system, respiratory system etc and the bones of the body, after break we done some maths, co-ordinations which they’ve never done before, they all caught on so fast, they were fighting to come up the board and write the answer “Madame Danni pleaseee pleasee mee” x 103. Went to the town got more food for tonight, bought fabric and I’m having a dress made for me, 3 yards of fabric 15 cedi (£3) and the dress to be made 40 cedi (£8), so cheap. Gonna come away with a wardrobe full of dresses. It’s 10:30 and the power has been off for about 2 hours. Can’t believe this place hasn’t got a fucking generator FFS!!! Me, Harry, Solake, Ash and Hannah are all sitting in the living room with our phone torches on, drinking raspberry and citrus Smirnoff vodka, oh yeah Solake pushed me earlier into the table, think I’ve sprained my foot so gonna go hospital tomorrow and have it checked out. What a SHIT DAY. Haven’t used any form of internet for a full week, spoken to my dad and Shannon twice.
Didn’t go to school today, foot is really hurting. Jess hasn’t gone either because she’s dehydrated, hardly any sleep, not eating much and she was in the sun all weekend, on the drip now, serious stuff. Me, Solake, Harry, Ash and Hannah just went to this pretty cool pub in Mpraeso for Solakes 21st birthday. Had a few drinks nothing major waiting until tomorrow for the whole house to go Rojos restaurant for food and us lot will stay the night there, hopefully they have a decent shower :-(
Taught BODMAS and English today, came home, had a shower and got ready for Solakes birthday meal, poor bastard celebrating his 21st in a shit restaurant and he was ill. We checked out this hotel, swear to god when I went in the bathroom I felt like I was in a Saw movie. It was so big, everything spaced out weirdly, white tiles that were grubby on the bottom, was so scary, fuck thaaaat. So we went to another hotel called Jays Lodge, was really nice something out of Barbados, just about to put my bags in the room and settle down until Solake sees a cockroach so he refused to stay there, diva. Harry was sick, Solake felt sick, I felt sick, sound.
Nearly all of the house has woken up feeling sick and having the shits, 4 toilets between 25 people is not a pretty sight or smell.
So today 18 people went on a 12 hour drive for a safari, whereas Me, Solake, Harry and Ash went to Kumasi which is just 2 hours away for the weekend. In a really nice hotel, only downfall is is that they have Wi-Fi, I really wanted to go the full 3 weeks without internet. Harry and Solake are constantly on their phones now and me and ash are just like “awesome conversation guys”. I’m in the room on my own, just had a hot shower which was lush, footballs on so the boys are watching that in the restaurant.
Power just went off, again, phone torch on, sound.
Spent 5 hours in the Casino lastnight, ’twas pretty good. Harry has food poisoning from the food in our hotel, think him and Solake are gonna go home early. Just managed to do my first bit of sunbathing since being here. Looked in the mirror earlier and I look skinny(er), felt like crying! I don’t want to lose weight :'(
Left to go back to the volunteering house around 5, had a shower and chilled. When the rest of the house came back from the safari a few very worrying stories was told. So first of all the bus broke down after 2 hours of travelling and they were waiting for 5 hours for another bus, it eventually took them 16 and a half hours to get there. THEN, they noticed that the driver was taking videos/photos of all the girls in the swimming pool and in the safari, when they arrived this afternoon we insisted to look at the drivers phone, to discover close up photos of the girls, videos of the girls pretending to capture the “wildlife”, porn etc. Disgusting! The outside light just blew so when I say a good thousand moths are on the netted windows, I mean, a good thousand moths are on the netted windows. Much to my dismay someone opened the door and they all came pouring in, absolutely REVOLTING, a lot of out of breath people later, they were all dead. Also Solake just nearly got in a fight with Richard (co-ordinator), LOL. That would of been an interesting fight.
Back at it in school, done some English and Maths, brought my speakers as a special request off the children, they were loving Shaggy “It wasn’t me”. Joanne and Amy left today :( oh well at least I can use Joanne’s bed for my clothes now ha. Picked my dress up, Solake got her down to 25 cedis, he’s such a Hustler. Back in the house now doing fuck all, Ghana are playing USA tonight in the World Cup, everyone getting hype buying shirts and flags.
Currently sitting outside with the girls sunbathing listening to music (cough cough Lana Del Rey), it’s roughly 32 degrees, 5pm and it’s winter season, lol. A fly just went in my full coke bottle, FFS.
Ghana just lost 2-1, absolutely tamping. Me, Alice, Amy, Mavic and Hannah were the only ones to stay in tonight, everyone is gonna come in at 1, steaming drunk and wake us all up I know it.
On my travels to sunrise school (roughly 40-45 minutes), and I couldn’t help think how much I’m gonna miss the scenery. It’s actually amazing! Laughed to myself in class, in school if a wasp or bee came into our room everyone would scream, run out, kill it whatever, out here a goat or pig just casually enters the classroom and no one bats an eyelid hahaa, ridiculous. My food was so delicious and tasty today, rice… Mmmmm
Bought material for another dress, shirt for my dad and trousers for Sonny. Eeek cant wait to have them back!
Well, Solake and Harry have booked their flights to go home tomorrow at 8:45 haha
Serious torrential rain and thunder and lightening tonight. Worse I’ve ever seen it, trying to go asleep and it’s like there’s paparazzi in my room with the flashing lights, so annoying. My clothes were drying as well, Oh don’t even…
Since I’ve been here I’ve seen 1 woman wear makeup, just 1 person. Women/young girls don’t wear makeup and they look beautiful, there’s just no need for people back home to wear makeup. The world (no cheese intended) looks a much better place without foundation, mascara, lipstick, drawn on eyebrows etc. I’m gonna miss seeing natural beauty when I get home.
Taught English and maths today, on break they taught me this dance which was really good, glad I recorded it haha, sweaty stuff tho jumping around in the blistering sun.
Everyday when we finish we all go to this bar across the school for a cold drink, well today we didn’t just get a cold drink we had a shock. 2 women (roughly 26-27) from the other volunteering house overheard us talking about Solake hitting a kid in the head with a pencil (by mistake may I add), Jesus Christ never in my life have I heard such foul language come from a woman. We were trying to calm her down because people from the village started coming in the pub, surprised she didn’t start throwing shapes LOL.
After that episode, we waved goodbye to Harry and Solake and the rest of us went to outreach, damn that place was bad, really bad. I picked a baby up because it was crying, looked at my arm and it was covered in poo, didn’t really know what to do with myself. We gave them a family filter (cleans the water and kills germs), soap, worming tablets for the kids, juices, biscuits, rice etc. Can’t believe there was a girl from Swansea there, crazyyy. The community asked us for one thing and that was to buy aluminium sheets so they could build a decent toilet for men and women, bless them.
School had a spelling bee today, that was cute to watch. Went in Mpraeso, picked up my clothes and bought some garlic, butter and 2 fresh buns of bread to make; the obvious garlic bread for everyone, it turned out reallyyyy nice and it was well needed. Gas container just run out and we were in the middle of cooking 2 big pots of potatoes, fuck sake.
Power just went off, AGAIN!
Tonight was my last ever cold bucket shower in the house, we’re all going to Kokrobite tomorrow for the weekend, can’t wait to just sunbathe on the beach and chill. Last night in the house, quite emosh, grown attached to my bunk bed :(
Today was my last day in school, quite sad but it was time for me to go. I think if I had to do another week I would, still feel like I got places to go/things to do. But they say it’s better to leave wanting more than leaving being fed up. We’re all on our way to Kokrobite which is roughly 3 hours away, we’re in a fancy big red bus, it’s got air con the LOT.
3 hours? Try 6. We’re staying in Big Milly’s Backyard, it’s right on the beach and it’s sooo nice. Me, Ash and Hannah are sharing a little hut, and I mean little. Just had chicken and chips which was epic! Hope tomorrow is sunny, I got a tan to catch.
Had the SHITTEST night sleep ever lastnight, it was so hot and clammy. Had a shower, went for breakfast, had poached eggs on toast which was lush. Then the shopping began, where we are staying there is about 10 African shops which are just out of this world. Rastafarians were coming up to me asking to buy paintings, jewellery, takes about 10 minutes for them to understand that I don’t want anything. Sunbathed for a bit but it’s quite cloudy :( So me and Hannah treated ourselves, I had my toes painted and my hair done and Hannah’s had her, toes, hair and eyelashes, all for 27 cedi (£6)!
Last supper tonight with the housemates, can’t believe I’ve been around the same people for 3 weeks, it’s gonna be sad when they leave me and Hannah tomorrow. We’ve all had food/photos/drinks and danced with the Rastas, I played the drums and got taught some Salsa. Awesome night!
Day twenty one
Woke up with a stinking hangover, I was not the only one either. With one eye open I stumbled to the bar and ordered scrambled eggs on toast, T’was well needed. Went straight to the beach, baked for about 2 hours until I was disturbed by a group of kids, I had a race with them… they blitzed me (mind you I did have level 5.4 on the bleep test quite recently- embarrasing). Then we all chilled on the sun lounger and the girls played with my hair while the boys cwtched up to me fighting on who puts their arm around my waist ha bless them they all must of only been 7-9.
It was 12:30, 12 of the housemates were heading back to Mpraeso so I jumped in the bus and went to the bank on the way, by the bank there was a ‘SHOPRITE’… Well… Never have I been so happy to see a sugar donut in all my life. The place was HUGE, just made me appreciate TESCO that much more. Before I left I said goodbye to Jess, Mavic and Alice, not gonna lie I did shed a tear, I blame the malaria tablets for messing up my Hormones.
When I got back Shadé, Olivia, Avril, Amy and Ash were waiting around until 5 to catch a taxi to Accra airport (roughly 30 minutes drive), so I chilled out some more on the beach. 5 came and it was time to say goodbye, gonna miss Ash and his Scottish accent which I could barely understand.
Then there were 2, just me and Hannah left. We had a shower each (which really hurt because I had burnt on the beach) and went up the road to an Italian Restaurant called ‘Kokrobite Garden’. We both had a Margarita pizza which was absolutely epic. This place was so chilled and the decoration was stunning, didn’t want to leave. You could tell that the area we were staying in was much better off than previous places we had visited.
We made our way back to Big Milly’s around 7:30, met some Rasta’s who had a Shiesha so we made friends and chilled with them. They spoke really good English so the conversation was flowing. There was Stephan who was the boss, Rocky and Blaze. They were so deep maan, funny tho. Towards the end of the night they were telling us what happens behind the scenes in Ghana…FUCK!! Let me try repeat what they said.
The topic of conversation started with me saying “what’s the average age for a girl to become pregnant here” and they replied with “9-13″, I physically couldn’t believe it, I said “WHAT?! How is that even allowed? They don’t even start puberty at 9?!” Stephan told me why:
Basically everyone in Ghana is hungry, the money that they receive in a week is so little that they can just about afford to eat once a day. So what they do is this, a rich man (usually 40 – late 50’s) will come to your home and ask to have a baby with your daughter, words are “he want to make a WOMAN”, man will offer the family 500 cedis (£100), the family will be ecstatic with this amount, probably have never seen this amount of money at once in their life time. The man will take the girl shopping, buy her new dresses, high heeled shoes, buy big earrings and necklaces, have her hair weaved and all that stuff which will make her look older, take her spinning in his car to show everybody that she’s his
mistress. So the deal will be that every day she must visit the mans house, Stephan said it can start with just kissing, then over time progress to touching until when they are at ease being around the man they have sex, and lots of it. The girl will not be allowed to go to school because she is the mans, all of his. Eventually the girl will become pregnant, the man will still keep the family sweet with money of course. If it is a boy the man will dismiss the girl and find someone else, if it’s a girl the man will keep paying the mother to look after the baby. Stephan also said that the SECOND “emphasis on the second” the baby is born, the second they know whether if it’s a girl, that little baby will already have an arranged marriage and the process starts again, until the baby is grown up she is looked after by many, teachers are paid to keep an eye on the girl in school, she must not play with boys etc, parents will not let her out to socialise, study study study and that’s it.
So that’s roughly what he told me, very disturbing and unimaginable. He told me that it’s very common and he knows this much in detail because it happened to his mother. His mother is 70+ and his oldest brother is late 50’s, makes sense. Very sad that it happens, he said that he could walk down the street and point out to me little pregnant girls. But the whole reason that the mother, father, brothers, sisters know about this happening and are fine with it is because that’s how the family keep alive, without the little girl doing this they would not eat or survive. So yep, that was a pretty deep conversation.
Day twenty two
Damn it’s my last day, whaaaaat?! Me and Hannah woke up at 10, had breakfast, went back packed our suitcases, checked out and chilled by the bar until 3. Hannah’s staying in Accra tonight because her flight is tomorrow at 10pm. Said my goodbye’s, so glad she lives in Cardiff, 100% meeting back up with this bitch.
Craziest thing just happened, saw a man building where I’m staying, he was from Cornwall. I asked him what’s he building he said his surf shop called “Mr. Brights Surf School” so I was like cool, awesome. He knew I was from Wales from my cheesy disgusting accent, so he asked me whereabouts in Wales I said “Neath, it’s near Swansea” he was like “ahhh I know, I use to surf in Mumbles and Gowerton”… Whaaaat! Like how have I met someone in Ghana, in the place I’m staying, who’s been where I go for food quite frequently? That shit cray.
Can’t believe how fast 3 weeks have gone, seriously. When I was booking I thought 3 weeks would be sooooo long but reality= feel like I’ve lived in Ghana for 5 days. But I’m ready to go now, mentally and physically. I’ve missed my comfy Kingsize bed, I miss (this sounds ridiculous) cleaning products like fairy liquid, a sponge, bleach, air freshner and especially… a Hoover. I miss the gym like you wouldn’t believe!! I miss food SO MUCH, I’ve been craving a Dominoes and Vegetables. But most of all (this is such a cliché) I miss my family. If my family came out to Ghana I wouldn’t care about living conditions and food because I’d have my dad, mam, Sonny and all the rest of my crazy bunch. I miss Shannon and Emily loads, need my girls. Ahhhh glad to be going home :)
On the plane ready to set off, it’s 9:15pm, should of left 8:25pm, literally everything in Ghana is slow. When we ordered taxis we’d order it 1 hour before, we called it GMT (Ghana maybe time). I’m sat next to a middle aged man, he’s taking shameless selfies of himself, sound on and everything. I’m hungry, all I’ve had today is scrambled egg on toast, my stomach has definitely shrunk since being here haha.
Just had this beef and rice thing, was nice to be fair. Watching Red Riding Hood with a cup of tea. Can’t get to sleep it’s 2:30am, think I’m excited to see my Dad at the airport. 1 hour until touch down in Istanbul, land in Heathrow at 10am.
And I’m driving home, can’t believe it’s all over. What a brilliant experience, I’ve witnessed new cultures, lived in a way I never thought I could and made a lot of new friends, what more could you ask for?
Would I come back to Ghana?
‘Never say never’ but truthfully I don’t think so, I’d like to travel around the world and volunteer, I’d like to see Peru or Morocco. But I love the people in Ghana, their spirit is invigorating and full of life, which is hard to find.
I’d highly recommend to anyone… If you wanna do volunteering, go to Ghana first, because it’s a real eye opener.