Kintampo Falls, Ghana, November 26, 2007

Trip Start Sep 19, 2007
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Trip End Jan 05, 2008


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Flag of Ghana  ,
Monday, November 26, 2007

As I woke up and left my hotel room in Mole to go to the truck I was hit hard by the contrast between my air conditioned room that was so cool it was almost cold and the already sweltery early morning air outside.  I slept well in my cool room that night and had some great dreams myself but was immediately greeted at the truck by others eager to tell me about their nights of dreams.   
Richard came over first to tell me about the exciting dream he just had.  The Australian elections had just taken place and must have been on his mind since he and the other Australians had been busy debating the merits of the parties and leading candidates.  His dream involved about-to-be-ex Prime Minister John Howard.  "You should have heard some of the things I said to my prime minister - I didn't think such words were capable of coming out of my mouth," he told me.  He seemed quite excited about it all. 
When Dave "The Hat" finally rolled out of bed the roof and climbed down he also came over to me.  "Wazza, I think you're rubbing off on me.  I want to tell you about my dream.  In my dream Ed was taking clandestine pictures of Robin.  Murray went and told on Ed.  Robin came out in a rage and confronted Ed.  Ed threw a fit and started yelling, "None of you are getting anymore of my money."  Then, Warren, you wrestled him down to get him under control." 
Dave seemed very excited about his Lariam dream too, and I felt quite pleased that I wasn't the only one telling everyone about by wacky and wonderful Lariam dreams.  Later in the day I told him, "Hey Dave, I just wanted to let you know I really enjoyed roughing Ed up in your dream last night.  I'll be glad to help out any time." 
The day's drive south to Kumasi was an especially long one.  It first involved backtracking several hours on the unpaved side road to Mole and then a long drive south through rather heavily populated countryside and towns where we made a couple stops for provisions.  David and I had no success in our constant search for ice, something we needed to get regularly to have cold drinks on the truck since the refrigerator was now being used strictly for keeping food cool, unusual since it was much more readily available in less developed Mali and Burkina Faso.   
We all also became very familiar with the word "Obroni", the Ghanaian term for white person that's the equivalent of "Mzungu" in Swahili speaking East Africa and, as we would later learn, "Oyibo" in Nigeria.  Like Mzungu (or plural Wazungu) and Oyibo, Obroni does not appear to be a derogatory term, as people in Ghana might say, "Hello, Obroni. Welcome!" as they smile and shake your hand. 
We stopped for lunch at Kintampo Falls, a beautiful three-stage cataract in central Ghana that looks like the perfect tropical set for a Tarzan movie.  While the scenery was impressive, it was the camp lunch that was most memorable, one so absolutely awful it will forever live in infamy.  I shall leave the ones responsible for it nameless, but their presentation on this afternoon was the extreme example of the recurring theme of serving ingredients for a meal rather than food, in this case boiled pasta, canned corn, canned peas, processed cheese triangles, canned mackerel, and canned chicken meat that looked like and tasted like cat food.  I think the presenters intended for individuals to combine these separate ingredients and mix them with mayonnaise into something they might call a "salad", but it was so god-awful that I dined almost entirely on watermelon. 
From north to south Ghana becomes progressively lusher, greener, and more humid, as the flat open woodland savanna in the north gives way to hillier forest-canopied land in the south.  The more fertile soils and wetter climate also favor more intensive farming and support much higher population densities than in the Sahel countries we passed through further north.  Ghana's higher level of prosperity was also apparent in the more substantial and permanent looking buildings than in Mali and Burkina Faso.  However, the biggest contrast between Ghana and places north of it is not economic or environmental but religious.  While everywhere else in Africa we went through up to this point was mostly Muslim, most Ghanaians are Christian, and from the looks of things, of the very devout and evangelical sort.  I'll go into Ghana's religiosity in somewhat greater detail in my chapter on Accra.
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