We ride as the lone passengers now, in the back seat of a taxi, as the driver navigates up a muddy mountain road, negotiating deep ruts and sharp rocks. As we climb the jungle-lined road, I wonder if our driver is even taking us to the town we expect. Ahh…I see a cross towering atop a mountain – the landmark of the Village of Amedzofe. We hear that the Germans are responsible for erecting that cross in the 1800’s, as well as building Presbyterian Chapels and schools in the area that still stand strong.
Most greetings begin with the phrase, “You’re welcome.”
“You’re welcome. My name is Solomon.”
“Thank you,” we respond.
Solomon explains that he is trained as a greeter and guide. The twenty-three year old man has charming manners, and walks us to the “Akofa Guest House.” Sweat pours from us in this tropical rain forest, despite being the highest settlement in all of Ghana (2600 feet). This mountain paradise pays off with views of an enormous valley below, dotted with an occasional village that squeezes in between the smaller mountains and dense forest.
Solomon helps us book two nights in the guest house, ($13US nightly) with basic accommodations. We have a ceiling fan, and good thing we brought our own toilet paper. We love it, especially the front porch where we can look out over the massive countryside below.
Solomon gives us a walking tour of the village, where everybody greets us with, “You’re welcome.” We respond with, “Thank you.”
The goats in the village are only let out of pens from four o’clock until six. They are trained for that. The main source of meat, Solomon sometimes feels sad when slaughtering one. Eventually, we find the only bar in town. If a town has a bar, Mare and I will find it, and we purchase six large “Castle Milk Stout” beers that is as dark as Guinness, but packed with six percent alcohol.
This entire trip, Mare has been taking photos, asking permission, and often getting rejected. I recall one woman back in Ampenyi saying, “You just want a photo of me because you think I look like a monkey.”
Another man told me that villagers don’t like photos of them because it shows them as poor. “You Europeans have big houses, and want to show you friends how poor people live.”
Mare asks Solomon about this and he has a different take. “They think that you will make calendars with the pictures and you make money, while they get nothing.”
Mare, in her friendly, enthusiastic manner, convinces the folks in this village to let her photograph them. Before you know it, just about everybody wants their photo taken, and the crowd howls with laughter while looking at them on our tiny, digital screen.
We crack some warm beers on the guest house porch, and meet Jerry. He is the man-servant to Georgina, the woman in charge, who also cuts hair on the porch when not ordering Jerry around.
As darkness descends, a thunder and lightning storm cools us, while we get drunk with Solomon and Jerry. I show them how to open a beer bottle with the top of a water bottle, which almost puts out Jerry’s eye, and we laugh the entire evening.
“After a big night,” Jerry says, “the whole village square is covered in vomit.”
Georgiana serves us spaghetti; store bought noodles, but some of the best sauce I’ve ever tasted, which includes a hard boiled egg. I get jealous, because I am a cook who makes noodles from eggs and flour, and am proud of my sauce, which can’t compare.
The power goes out from the storm,. By candlelight, Georgiana holds a bowl, and Kafui pounds into it with a large stick. They prepare Fu Fu, a combination of cassava and plantain. We have a photo of it.
wow what great shots and fun times you all are having. Pete and I are really enjoying following you from the comfort of our home. Not sure we could rough it like that. Take care Love Kath and Pete
Thanks for your kind words. I’m glad you guys can enjoy some of this. I sure miss Norm. He would get a kick out of it.
This morning, we are headed for Benin, through Togo. Going to the birthplace of Voodoo. Hired a guide, Apollo, because we do not speak French, and want to learn a bit about the place. Won’t be on internet for several days.
Hey! That last picture looks like my house except there is no cooking going on and I see those appear to be bona fide curtains!
I mean no cooking going on at *my* house and THEY have curtains! But you can take my picture I have no pride. I just require a little black rectangle over my eyes/nose area.
I am so glad I finally found your site! Kevan gave me a vague address so it took me awhile. You guys look great and I am so glad you are doing this so we can ‘share’ your trip. Give Marilynn my love and happy B-day late to you!
Thanks for the birthday wishes! Glad you are along for the ride. We just returned to Ghana after five days on the road through Togo and Benin. Stories to follow. XXOO
You are alive! So glad you are having a great time and once again letting me live vacariously through you. My love to you both!
We just got back to the city of Ho, Ghana tonight, from the country of Benin. Excited about witnessing a genuine Voodoo Ceremony. (Thought about the silly video you forwarded to us about the burning man accident) We will post some stories the next few days, as we need some time to rest.