Months ago, two coworkers and I went to Kintempo for the weekend to see the Kintempo Waterfalls and visit the monkey sanctuary.  If anyone in Ghana is reading this and wants to do the same thing, here’s my advice.

First, the waterfalls are pretty but not spectacular.  They’re a short walk from the road, not a hike.  The first two were small, but the third was large.  It was super muddy, like the chocolate waterfall from Willy Wonka’s chocolate factory.  My coworker said that last time she visited in March it was smaller and you could sit under a ledge inside the falls.  In September, though, at the end of the rainy season it was much bigger.  We splashed around and slid down the rocks, but there was so much gushing water that I could barely stand.

Kintempo Waterfall #3

Kintempo Waterfall #3

In Kintempo, we stayed at the Yakam Guesthouse.  It was nice and came with breakfast (an omelette, toast, and hot drink).  Only one breakfast was included per room, though, and an extra was 7 Cedis so it’s not worth buying a second.  Yakam also served Ghanaian food for dinner, but at 20 Cedis a meal we decided to search the town instead.

Kintempo is small and there aren’t many restaurants.  Most of the food can be found in food stands near the bus station.  The first night we had fufu and soup in a small restaurant.  The second night we got Indomie fried noodles and brought it back to our hotel room.

On Sunday we went to the Monkey Sanctuary, which is about a 45 minute drive from Kintempo.  We first went to the bus station to get a tro to Nkoraniza.  A taxi driver offered to drive us and wait and bring us home for 100 Cedis.  We said no because his price was outrageous, but actually we should have hired him.  We should have argued him down to 60-80 Cedis instead of walking away.

We waited an hour for our tro-tro to fill before driving to Nkoraniza.  Then we got out in a small town and waited another hour for so for a taxi to take us to the Monkey Sanctuary.  It felt like the whole town (all 30 people) watched us wait for the taxi.  When a driver appeared, another man stepped forward to do the bargaining.

“300 Cedis,” he declared.  “100 each.”

“No,” argued my colleague.  “That’s too much.  3 Cedis each.”

“Fuck you!” the man yelled.

I was shocked.  I’d never heard a Ghanaian swear like that.  Ghanaians often yell, but the man’s sudden anger still surprised me.

My coworker wasn’t daunted, however. “5 Cedis each,” she persisted.

“Ok,” suddenly the man was all smiles again.  Weird.

We crawled into the taxi and went to the Monkey Sanctuary.

At the Sanctuary, we met a young German girl who was volunteering there for 4 months.  Our guide walked us through the forest and told us stories about the monkeys.  They have two types there: brown and black.  We only saw the brown ones, though.  Our guide was excellent and the monkeys were super cute.  We fed them bananas out of our hands and didn’t get Ebola.

Contracting Ebola

Contracting Ebola

We ended the tour at another small town around 3pm.  We caught a taxi to the closest bus station.  We had hoped to get tro straight back to Kintempo, but instead we had to go in the opposite direction to Techiman.  Once in Techiman, we went back to Kintempo.  After arriving around 6pm, we decided to stay another night instead of traveling through the dark back to Tamale.

All in all, it was a lot of driving and unnecessary waiting for tro-tros to fill, but we saw some beautiful Ghanaian landscapes and got to play with monkeys.  A success!



Source: Rebuilding Foundations

Little surprises

This morning I bought an orange for breakfast.  As I fought to open its tough peel, I realized it was pink inside.

“Oh nooooo,” I thought.  “A grapefruit!  How sneaky.”

But, surprise surprise, it tasted like an orange after all.  It was juicy and sweet, much better than the other oranges I’ve eaten here.  Usually they’re dry and tasteless.

A small victory to start the day.

Source: Rebuilding Foundations

Care Bear Countdown!

Two more weeks left in Ghana.  One month until I’m home.

There’s so much to be excited for.  My mum’s shortbread!  Mandarin oranges!  Holiday parties!  Watching The Muppet’s Christmas Carol!  Snuggling beside the fireplace!  Mulled wine!  Friends!  Family!  My sister’s dog!  Even her cat, whom I’m allergic to!

I’m trying hard to live in the present and appreciate every moment in Ghana, but it’s hard not to fantasize about the future – especially since it’s going to be so much better than whatever my limited imagination comes up with.

Christmas baking.  Enough said.


Source: Rebuilding Foundations

Mustn’t Know

One of the Tamale newspapers has a poetry page full of impressively wonderful poems.  Most of the submissions are anonymous, like this one.

Mustn’t Know

Mustn’t ask questions
Mustn’t do it
Mustn’t know
When I was young
I was warned
A child mustn’t ask questions
When I turned a teenager,
A girl mustn’t do it
When I became an adult
A woman mustn’t know.
Mustn’t know?
When it is my life
You are dragging along
the streets
Behind your broad back,
And you say mustn’t know?
It is my life you know,
And I must know
What you do with it.

Source: Rebuilding Foundations

Ghanaian Greetings

Yesterday my host-father gave me a lesson in Ghanaian greeting etiquette.

In the evenings, he often sits on a chair in the front yard.  When I get home and walk through the gate of the perimeter wall, I always call “Anoola,” which means “good evening,” and wave.

Apparently I’ve been doing it wrong!  Last night he said, “You don’t greet when you are far away.  You should wait until you’re closer.  Unless you’re on a bicycle or in a car, then you can wave and greet from far away.  But you should wait.”

“Ok, thank you for telling me,” I responded.  “From now on, I’ll wait.”

I had already sort of noticed this phenomenon from walking around.  Back home, I say hello to people when they’re about 1-2m in front of me.  We make eye contact, smile, say hi, and maybe say “How are you?” “Good, and you?” “Good” as we pass each other.

In Ghana, however, people wait until you’re side-by-side.  It threw me off at first to have people greet me just as they were leaving my peripheral vision.  Do I turn and say something?  But most people seem to speak as they’re walking away.  One person might say “Despa” (good morning) as they pass another and the second person says “Naaaa” (fine) as they continue in their separate directions.

It seems an especially strange practice when boys are yelling after me.  I’m unlikely to respond to men yelling “Hey salaminga!” anyways, but there is no way I’m going to stop, turn around, and answer when I’m already a few meters away down the road.

Source: Rebuilding Foundations