Sunday, March 8, 2009

The Week that was...My African Safari

The Week That was....01st March-08th March, 2009

For a change it was a 5 day week :-) with Friday the 6th of March being a holiday to celebrate the National Day of Ghana...Their 52nd National day.... The week was mixed for me...some great results at one organisation and not so great progress for the other organisation that we are providing consultancy services to....However culturally it was brilliant....

Some interesting cultural things that happened in the week was a business negotiation that we attended...it took almost 45 minutes for the two parties to come to a point and it was interesting to see how well European folks have adapted to the African style of negotiation....On the whole a great learning experience and a move forward for one of our clients...as their European suppliers decided to continue supplies at upon 20% payment as oppossed to the full payment that they were asking for earlier.... Another interesting aspect of this day was the fact that most Ghanians wore traditional clothing with a message of some kind for Ghana stitched into it...Eg. Our host had a shirt which produly proclaimed that "Ghana- 50 years of Independance".....

Apart from standard work, we also had a chance to spend Rosa's birthday....She is our Italian colleague and her birthday was celebrated with great fun at a restaurant called "The Lite Bite"....The owner Rosemont also shares her birthday with Rosa and she was very pleased to have us with her at her restaurant.....

The Lite Bite is our preferred lunch destination in Takoradi....and it has served up almost all the delicacies to us starting from Fufu to various soups, kebabs and Ampesi (boiled plaintains or yams)....The meal was excellent for Rosa's birthday dinner and it was rounded up by Cake and ice cream provided by the owner Rosemont....Incidentally Rosemont, apart from running a successfull restaurant also is a great golfer.....

And that brings us to golf.....Takoradi has a quaint club known as the sports club....Probably started during the colonial times, it has an old world charm to the club house and a 9 hole golf course....One one side you have the greens and on the other side, you have the ocean....On the whole a very soothing experience....And let me say I am getting introduced to golf and have had many of my "convinctions" challenged especially those that stated that it is an easy game....
My current learnings are restricted to the fact that conditions, timing and the swing play a major part in this game and ..... lets just say that I am learning and have lost just one ball till date....The great thing is that all of us go for golfing and it's fun as well as a nice outing for most of us ......

So here comes the last and the most interesting part of the blog....As part of our one month experience in Ghana, our Partners, CDC (Citizens Development Corporation) alongwith the Western Region tourism board planned an exquisite trip for us ...... a visit to a 600 year old setllement which is floating on stilts at NZulezo and a trek through virgin equatorial rain forests in West Africa.....

The trip was on Saturday and after an interesting bus journey where enroute we stopped to see the birthplace of Dr. Kwame NKrumah the founder of Ghana and the first president...For those of you who are fond of history, he was a contemporary of Jawahar Lal Nehru and Nasser and was one of the movers of the Non- Alingned Movement....After a great stopover, we reached Beyin Beach....The Beyin Beach is unlike any Beach I have ever seen....You cannot see people on the beach even if you try to ...It is truly secluded and virgin and has only one good quality resort .... The Beyin Beach Resort.....

Owned by Nina and Patrick Sarpong they rent out their rooms between USD 20- USD 50 per night and they serve cheap but tasty food and very good South African wine.....But the real strength of their offer is the beach itself....Unspoilt and secluded, it offers you the amazing sight of watching Olive Ridley turtles come and lay their eggs...They are also in Turtle conservation and ecotourism in a very big way....If you wish to visit this area , please take a look at their web site www.beyinbechresort.com.....It's exquisite....

From the Beyin Beach Resort, we travelled a short distance by bus before moving onto to Canoes to row through marchy land to the NZulezo village.....Nzulezo village is made up of inhabitants who were originally from Mali, but who settled here as they fled war and other problems in their homeland....They have been living here in houses on water ----on stilts and do farming, fishing and other such agricultural activities for their sustenance...They now call themselves Ghanian and it was truly interesting to see that they had contentment even though they were living in such difficult circumstances.....

After lunch at the Beyin Beach resort, we got onto the bus and started for Ankasa one of the largest protected rain forests in Western Region of Ghana... In these forests there are more that 300 varieties of trees and the major fauna include Monkeys oif various kinds, Leopards, forest elephants and various animal species.....We first took a short trek to vists what is known as the "Bamboo Cathedral"....The Bamboo cathedral is formed by the bamboo shrubs as they arch over each other creating a cathedral type of ambience and feeling....In fact the silence of the place almost makes it feel that you are close to God....

And then finally we went for a trek through the dense equatorial forest....it was dark inside almost like it was night and it felt eerie that we were surrounded by equatorial trees which dwarfed us in their presence....We saw trees which were mangrove like in their appearance (known as arrogant trees) and the classical equatorial trees which tower above you and are as thick as a apartment block....

And finally before I sign off, something hilarious happened....As we were reaching towards the end of our trek....I think someone stepped on a ant hill and by God... they just attacked us from all directions....I had ants up all over my body and got bitten in most places including several "inappropriate" places....I am laughing as i write this but Carolyn very aptly stated...."This gives a new meaning to the saying "Ants in your Pants" "....Anyway as we reach to the last part of our one month long tryst with Ghana....hoping for more exciting events and some great contribution to the client for whom we are working....

Ciao for now.....

1 comment:

Rosey Times said...

you never cease to amaze me. Thanks for continuing to blog!
Tim Rose