Thursday night we began preparations for our long trip to Beyin Beach by staying up far too late – Kylie, Lauren and I found our way onto the top of the roof of the guesthouse to observe the blue moon. Sadly it was cloudy, so we sat and talked and waited until in one glorious moment, the skies broke and the beautiful moon shone straight atop of us. It was a breathtaking moment – Asamankese’s lights below us on the hill, and the hidden moon now appearing above us. This, I thought, thisis beauty!
Friday morning we were up bright and early as our driver was supposed to arrive sometime in between eight and nine. However, a flat tire combined with African time meant we left closer to ten instead. We passed the long drive by reading and sleeping and watching movies, and after one short detour, we arrived just in time to catch the African sunset over the ocean. It was absolutely stunning. The sun shone a bright pink, and literally dropped so quickly the sun was set within mere minutes. I guess this is what happens when you live so close to the equator! As night descended, we unpacked in our rooms and went to the dining hut (I say hut because all of the buildings were thatched and minus our chalets were open concept). We discovered the best treat for four Canadians living in Africa – hot, gooey, fudge brownies! Needless to say we had those every dinner while we stayed there 🙂
After supper we explored the ocean under the full moon and a sky full of stars. We definitely left our mark in the Gulf of Guinea … let’s just say there was more than one full moon that night! 🙂 After we headed to our rooms to enjoy beautiful hot showers – what a treat! – and then headed to bed. The next morning we discovered a beautiful day outside, and after breakfast we spent the rest of the day by the beach. Kylie, Lauren and I wandered down the beach to discover the fisherman taking in their catch for the day. Many of the locals were gathered around, and were incredibly friendly and explained the different types of fish they had caught. They offered to sell us some but since both Lauren and I don’t like fish we politely refused! Amongst all of their fish in their nets were jellyfish and stingrays, and we saw some of the young kids playing with squid that they had caught. It was interesting to see how the daily ‘fish catch’ was something everyone was involved in, whether it be the actual fishing or the bartering and selling.
Also it’s interesting – I don’t consider myself someone who can lie easily, sometimes I am convinced I have an inability to lie – but here you find the lies sometimes just slip off your tongue when single Ghanaian men are being incredibly forward! For example, here’s a conversation that happens far too often and happened while observing the fishermen bringing in their catch:
Ghanaian male: Are you married?
Me: (Pause) Yes. Yes, I am. (Hide left hand behind hip)
Ghanaian male: Oh. Where is your partner then? Back in Canada?
Me: (Another pause). Yes. Working.
Ghanaian male: Oh wow. You are apart for a long time then!
At this point I changed the topic hurriedly to avoid any further slips! After this unfortunate conversation, we headed back to our beach to enjoy the water. We got horribly burned even after applying sunscreen – well, all of us except for who Lauren, who apparently tans quite easily. It was an incredibly relaxing afternoon, but by the evening the waves were getting quite rough and strong, and after watching the sunset, we had dinner and headed to our rooms. It’s incredibly strange having the sunset so early; it sets around 6:00 p.m., and is almost completely dark by 6:30. It’s because of this that somehow my night-owl habit is being forced out of me … all three nights away, without internet, and I was asleep by 11 p.m.!
Sunday morning we awoke to bad news … Lesley was incredibly sick (we think it was food poisoning, as none of the rest of us felt sick at all). We had planned to go to Nzuleo, the stilt village built on water, but after breakfast we waited for awhile to see if she was feeling any better. We walked down to the ocean and did our devotions by the water and afterwards went for a walk along the ocean, where we were spotted by a church group from Kumasi who wanted their pictures taken with the ‘obruni’s. It’s funny feeling like celebrities just because of the colour of your skin!
Sadly Les wasn’t feeling any better, so we headed to Nzuleo without her. You had to walk along a long board walk to get to the end of a channel of water that led out to a lake which I believe was called Black Lake. We had to wait a long time, probably close to two hours, before we were taken in a canoe to the stilt village. While we were waiting we met a group of three Dutch girls who were volunteering in Ghana for a medical placement and spending a week travelling. It’s always fun to meet others who are travelling and hearing their stories! We finally boarded our canoe, and it was a bit of a scary experience to say the least – our first sight of the canoes was of a man emptying it of water! But we survived, and made it through the swampy waters to the lake. Kylie and Lauren had a blast terrifying all of us of sightings of crocodiles (even though they were small ones who live in the water, and our guide said they only came out a night) and singing songs at the top of their lungs. The stilt village was quite fascinating – all of the homes are built on poles coming out of the water, and there are board walks in between each home or shop that you walk over the water on. There was electricity, which was surprising, but I think that we saw some of the most poverty we’ve seen since we’ve been here. The locals use the water from the lake for washing, drinking, and sewage. And the school that they had built was a three room schoolhouse, but there were no supplies, just basic wooden desks and one chalkboard in each room. We so take for granted our classrooms back home, filled with toys and posters and every type of book imaginable. These people simply have nothing. There were two churches in the village – both built on a slant, and they also had some shops along the boardwalk. Everywhere we’ve been we’ve felt incredibly welcome, but here we felt invasive, almost as if we were walking through someone’s home that had been turned into a tourist destination. But I’m glad we were able to see it and experience this village that is almost 600 years old (it was originally built on the lake to hide from their enemies during a war).
When the tour was finished and we canoed back, we spent a little time in the ocean before we headed in for the evening, but by then the water was quite choppy and rain was on its way. We spent the night watching Friends on my laptop, and headed back around 10 this morning with a few stops to visit some people that our driver, Anthony, wanted to visit while in the area. Sometimes I can’t get over how social Ghanians seem to be – always paying a visit to one another multiple times to thank them or offer condolences. I considered myself a social person, but goodness, if I was half as social as the Ghanaians are I am sure I would be completely exhausted all the time!
Tomorrow we start our first full day week of teaching. It’s going to be exhausting, so I’m headed to bed early tonight! Hope everyone had a great long weekend back at home, miss you all!!