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Sitting in the pre revolution Tripoli airport is not the most comforting thing in the world. Large posters of Gaddafi stared down at me and soldiers with large automatic weapons patrolled the airport unnerving even the toughest man. Sitting in the smoking lounge sucking down one cigarette after another and trying not to make eye contact with the man staring at me from across the room all I could think of was my final destination, West Africa. This also was giving me unsettling thoughts; did I follow the instructions of my Malaria prescription right? Did I remember to take one in the morning and if I did not, should I take one now? In the big picture it did not matter, I just had to hope for the best as I boarded the plane to fly into the unknown.
As I landed in Kotoka International Airport in Accra, Ghana, my stomach was twisted with excitement as I walked out into the not so welcoming 100-degree and 75 percent humidity weather. Still I was doing better than my Italian travel mates as they were dressed in jeans and scarves because it was still winter over in Rome. I had made it though and there was no turning back now whether I correctly followed my malaria prescription or not.
The Republic of Ghana is located in West Africa along the Gold Coast. The word Ghana means “Warrior King” which is perfectly fitting for the people who derived from that area. Many tribes came from this area of Ghana but the Ashanti were the fiercest of them all and could truly be called warriors. Ghana today is an up and coming Constitutional presidential republic declaring its independence from the United Kingdom in 1957 and developed its constitution in 1992. Even though Ghana has a history with the slave trade and colonialism this was not why I was here. I was here to experience their culture.
I did not stay in the capital Accra but left the busy city to head towards the ocean to a small fishing village by the name of Kokrobite. This village is a mix of locals and expatriates from around the world. This small village is full of friendly people who have many stories to tell. They live life day-to-day in Kokrobite and even though most of my traveling companions were here for educational purposes I was here for vacation and the day-to-day life style was what the doctor had order.
I would wake up in the morning and try to escape the imprisonment of my mosquito net. I then would pop my Malaria pill and hit the streets, whether it was hanging out with local kids playing a game of soccer on a dirt field, betting them on a game of foosball (which I lost every time) or learning from the kids how to play one of their native instruments on their beautiful beaches, my life seemed perfect. The nightlife was not disappointing at all either. We would hang out at the local Rastafarian bar watching soccer and listening to music or we would go to Big Milly’s Backyard, a bar owned by an Australian expat.
This is an amazing country that deserves to get more notice when it comes to West Africa. The people are nice and welcoming. My friend David and I would walk over to the Rastafarian Bar and drink star beer with Rastafarians as they played music and smoked a few joints. The life was easy going as a tourist. The people of Ghana work hard and enjoy life. Now Ghana has seen tough times but they worked through them to achieve the life they want. They faced a rough past to be one of the first stable democratic governments in West Africa.
The people are beautiful as well as the scenery. The beaches are large and filled with boats; as I walked down the beach I would run into fishermen coming back in from a day of hard work. They would go up the beach and sell them off at the local fish market. The life is simple here with not much distraction. I enjoyed every moment in Ghana.
About a week into my time in Kokrobite we drove up to a school for the deaf which helps children who are hearing impaired to learn skills to be able to communicate with sign and where they can learn in sign. We spent the day with the children who all fell in love with my camera. While I was there a couple of young boys led me over to play table tennis and as we played they taught me a few things in sign. It was inspiring to see how much these kids were learning and benefiting from this education.
The next morning we drove up the Ghanan Rain Forest and went for a hike out into the forest and set up camp. My Friend David and I were drinking fresh palm wine as we waited for dark to fall. The next morning would be the exciting part. I woke up around five in the morning. As I stretched a bit and rubbed my eyes the crisp morning air hit my face as I emerged from my tent. We made our way up the steep jungle hill. The fog had set in and you could hear the monkeys screams echo through the jungle. We started along the rope bridges as we climbed up into the canopy, the rope bridges creaked as we crossed from tree to tree. I felt as if I was in an Indian Jones movie; I was a little kid looking everywhere for jungle creatures that call the canopy their home. It was a dream come true.
Ghana has many things to offer, relaxation, adventure, inspiration, hope, and the idea of not taking life for granted. It is a country where I made many friends and learned a lot about the country’s struggles for democracy. It was one of the greatest adventures I have been on. Kokrobite is one of those places that you can see becoming a getaway resort in the future. I would never want to condemn that horrible fate upon it, but it has that feeling without the hordes of tourists. Kokrobite is the perfect hidden treasure for one to run away from their worries at home, crack open a couple of Star beers, and just enjoy the scenery and that day-to-day life style.
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