We set off relatively early for Bolgatanga to escape the traffic …. leaving behind certain comfort for the unknown North. Back in Canada I did what I often do dreamt up drastic scenarios and worried about them. Everything from a horrific accident to being held up for all my possesions … doing research didn’t help as lots of people said dire things. A good friend said I should wait and go in a convoy to avoid all this…
All this to say Dela kept a good speed, not too fast and the road was relatively good. And there was a good police presence all along the route. It is so ironic because these police who i felt so grateful to and would love to have bought them all a beer did not stop us to shake us down for money. (well one did but nicely) Yet in the well travelled roads that are safe crime wise one gets stopped a lot … there i just want to wring their necks :) I did restrain myself as if i had stopped to give one person money for a beer in gratitude i would have corrupted the whole lot like a dominos effect!! So we just smiled and waved and i sent them thanks in my heart!! Anyways all that to say it feels really good to be here in this new world..
And a new world it is …. quite different from the Ghana i have come to know quite well.
Tamale had the first hints of difference. All the motorbikes zooming in and out of traffic with whole families perched on them (father driving with several kids wedged between him and mom who has a baby strapped to her back) or another had a whole load of small tables precariously piled high on the extra seat…. school kids placidly cycling along in groups alongside the belching trucks and cars and motorbikes! (there is actually a cycle path that is separated from the road with a curb but pedestrians and motorbikes have hijacked the path so the kids have to be pretty present ) There were a lot of the ancient lorries (trucks) that have been around since time immemorial still hauling people and goods … Old buses packed full of people with goods piled high on top chugging by … It made me realize how much more modern somehow the Hol and Accra area has become …
Also the presence of mosques – gigantique ones and small simple buildings were becoming more and more numerous.. On the road we passed one that looked like a gigantic sandcastle. Quite incredible. A sight quite unlike i have ever seen.
We also passed more and more donkeys pulling carts with giant loads … once the load was so enormous several men had bent their backs to help the donkey over a hump .. We saw many donkey leisurely munching grass in fields .. having their lunch break which was nice.
I also came to a realization as we went along that it was ok just to be here and experience what i saw during the moment .. This is new for me. Before there was this frantic urge to record everything as a photo … Somehow i suddenly just lost that … It was a wonderful freeing moment . After that i just enjoyed the scenes unfold in front of me.
The largest Boabab tree i have ever seen. I don’t know what it is about these trees but you have the feeling that if they moved and talked to you somehow you wouldn’t be all that surprised. Usually they are small up top with small stumpy branches and then come down to this huge bulging trunk – like a big sturdy woman on a bad hair day.
The landscape is still in ‘winter’ mode… the trees are leafless. So the terrain has quite a desolate look. Dela says when the rains come in July and August the countryside turns green. For now it looks like a match would ignite the whole place everything is so dry and dusty. The earth here has a more yellowish tinge that the deep red of the Volta Region..
Finally we arrived in Bolgatanga … and we checked out the first hotel on our list. It doesn’t have a very promising name ‘Comme Ci Comme Ca’ !! … i instantly knew from the moment i first saw it that it would be nice. And it was … it is the very first hotel, except maybe Affia Beach Hotel in Accra , that has embraced African culture. Every other hotel i have been to tries to mimic the worst of the Western Hotel … the motel. So this hotel for me is awesome!!
We visited G-lish weavers …. G-lish Foundation makes baskets using the water sachets bags that litter the country side…. people drink the water and toss the bags… along with the black bag these sachets are one of the worst culprits for the garbage that litters Ghana’s countryside. These bags are cut into strips and reused along with scrap fabric in these gorgeous baskets made by G-lish weavers …. We have ordered some of these baskets!!
G-lish Foundation Baskets