Travel Journal

Larabanga - September 30 - October 1-2

(Monday 8 October 2007) by Karin
Arrived in the dark yesterday so took a good look at our surroundings this morning. Seems like I'll be living "downtown" Larabanga for the next few weeks. It is Sunday and as soon as a few benches are put in the shade of the tree in front of the house its a coming and going of people. Adults want to know our names, where we are from and what we are doing here. For the kids we are highly interesting and a lot of them come to watch, touch and go. Quite funny. A few boys are giving us our first Kamara lessons. No Twi in Larabanga. Later in the day Amara took us to see the mosque and mystery stone. The Mosque at Larabanga may well be the oldest building in Ghana. Yet, nobody seems to agree on just how old it is. Local tradition had it that the mosque's founder was travelling through the region when he found the so-called mystic stone that lies on the outskirts of Larabanga and decided, for some unexplained reason, that he would throw his spear from there and sleep wherever it landed. This he did, and during the night he had a strange dream about a mosque, the foundation of which were mysteriously in place when he awoke. Ayuba completed the construction of the mosque and settled in Larabanga. As for the mystic stone. .. A chunck of rock which caused the road towards Bole to be diverted because it "mysteriously" reappeared overnight everytime it was removed by the road constructors. In the village you can still see examples of traditional flat-roofed mudkraals.
Monday..... today is the day we will visit the school, teachers and kids. The school is just 2 rooms with the alphabet, numbers, months, days, etc. painted on the walls and a few benches/tables in each room. Upon arrival, only one teacher and about 35 kids. The little ones are separated from the bigger kids and go with Danielle and Amara to the other class room. I stay with the teacher and the bigger kids and start my first lesson. Unprepared, as we were only visiting today, but it went well. The hardest part is the kids not understanding English and the big differences in knowledge between them. They can all recite the alphabet but if you show them one letter, most of them have no clue and just guess. Same for counting. No problems counting till a hundred but they don't recognize one single number on its own. They are all eager to learn though.
Afternoon is spent relaxing as it is hot and there isn't really much else to do. Before dinner Amara takes us for a walk again. We visit the drink water well and the annex to the guesthouse... Savannah Lodge.
In the evening, Danielle and I lay down on the roof for some stargazing. The amount of stars you can see here is amazing. And a lot of shooting stars tonight. Amara joins us once in a while and we discuss life here, the school, the kids, Larabanga etc.
Tuesday is our first full morning at the school. We switch classes and I take the smaller ones today. The little ones (2-3 years old) don't speak much English so I spent most of my time teaching them a few words.... circle, triangle, square, nose, mouth, ears, eyes.... Lots of singing in between. Surprisingly, it is mostly the older boys that do really well but they are all eager to learn. Whenever I sit down to work with one of them I have 4 or 5 other ones touching my hair and skin..... try to work that way. I'm still lucky though because whenever Danielle and I go out together she really is the magnet .... blond, less tanned, curly hair etc. You can't go anywhere without being greeted, looked at, touched and kids run up to us to hold our hands and walk with us. They actually fight for us. Unfortunately for them we only have two hands with each only 5 fingers so no more than 5 kids on each side.
What I also find amazing is the age at which kids carry their little sisters/brothers on their back. This afternoon a little girl, I don't think she was even 5 years old, came to visit with her 2 month old little baby sister on her back. Danielle and I oohing and aahing over the baby of course (she is beautiful) and I ended up taking the baby on our evening walk carrying here the African way. On our walk another 2 month old baby was put on Danielle's back. At first I was afraid the baby would fall but she was fastened quite securely and I brought her home safely.
In the evening we joined the tea party outside. A bunch of men sitting around brewing some very strong chinese tea with loads of sugar. When you first sip it tastes very sugary but the after taste is quite bitter. Not my cuppatea. Of course, Danielle and I are the only girls in the circle.
Unfortunately, my time is up again and the bus is waiting so more to come soon. I am looking forward to reading some replies from you readers.

  • hi k by laila
    • Pictures by Karin
  • Hello from Australia by Genevieve
    • Too hot by Karin
  • baby carrier by laila
    • Babies or monkeys by Karin


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