Travel Journal

Accra - Tamale - Larabanga - September 28-29

(Monday 8 October 2007) by Karin
Maadwo to all,
I think I forgot to tell you about my Ghanaian name..... Efua Karin. Everyones first name in Ghana starts with the day on which he or she is born. As I was born on Efieda (Friday) my Ghanaian name is Efua Karin.
13 hour bus ride today from Accra to Tamale. Ouff, a bus with airco :-), that only left 20 minutes late. I slept mostly through the first four hours before our first p-stop and through a lot of noise. When they turn on the radio here you'd think half the population is just about deaf. After that we got a few movies, just as loud and two more scheduled stops. Once we got stuck behind another bus where loads of vendors tried to sell food and/or drinks and of course once you are stuck they 'attack' you too.
Didn't know what to expect on arrival and didn't find the SYTO coordinator as there was no sign. Luckily it was not to hard for him to find us as we do stand out a bit here. He dropped us at the Catholic guesthouse about 1 km from the town centre with the promise to pick us up tomorrow at nine.
And guess what???? After a good night's sleep in a nice bed with no barking dogs just outside the window or loud music he was there. After some necessary paperwork he dropped us at the bus station where our host father's brother Amara (more often called Kapito) waited for us. Yet another 4 hour bus drive waiting for us but before that a walk around th area. Tamale is the administrative capital of the Northern Region with a population estimated around 215.000. My first impression: hot, flat, incredibly dusty and a lot of bicycles. I still wonder how so many bikers manage to survive here with all the crazy drivers here. We then hung around the bus station waiting for a bus supposedly leaving at 2:00 pm but we actually left at 4:45 pm. Akwabe to Ghana :-|
And then we were in for a memorable ride. The road to Larabanga is legendary dusty and bumpy, and believe me, bumpy it is. 3.5 hours to do 120 km in a bus with no airco. At every stop vendors and after sunset a lot of buyers. Muslim country and we are in the middle of the Ramadan..... everyone is hungry.
On arrival we met our host father - Alhassan Salia. One of the Salia twins that runs the guesthouse at the T-junction in Larabanga. We got acquanted with our home for the next 7-8 weeks. We each got a room with a bed and a table. The bathroom, a little room with a hole going outside so the water can be evacuated and a bucket and cup; the toilet: a hole in the ground. We started with the mosquito nets. Easy for me as I have a hook in the ceiling situated, lucky me, right above the bed. For Danielle, a bit more imagination is needed but with the help of some string and creativity, her net was up pretty soon too. A nice shower, unpack and then the sky is coming down. Lightning, thunder and it pours, it pours it pours.... unbelievable the amount of water coming down at once. The noise on the tin roof is deafening. It rains inside and before I know it I have a little stream running through my bedroom. Manage to get my suitcases out of the way just in time. And then the lights go off. Pitch dark in an unfamiliar place. A bit scary but I have my headlamp not to far away. Danielle wasn't that lucky. She was taking a shower when the lamp broke. A hole in the roof got her just as wet as before she dried herself and as nobody heard her scream for help she raced through the courtyard to her room and got soaked again. Lucky for us, it did not last very long and we had a nice chat with our host father before retiring.
To be continued....

  • day by Harald
    • day by Karin

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