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February 10, 2012 at 08:07 #5779Naakow Grant-HayfordKeymaster
Last weekend Ross and I took our first trip to Kokrobite (im sure we will be back many times). Thanks to Richard for recommending I check the place out, it is awesome. Kokrobite is a cool little beachside village, home to the African Music Association (famous for its drumming and dancing) and also home to the backpacker haven, “Big Milly’s Backyard”. Big MIlly’s is a large plot of land, surrounded by a high security wall. Inside the wall are massive palm trees, lots of sand, and heaps of cool beach huts, shacks, an awesome open air bar, shack resteraunt and more. Its right on the beach, which gets some pretty good waves, and is a real hangout for the Rastafari of Ghana. Friday night saw an awesome show put on at Big Milly’s by a 20 piece drum and dance group, and Saturday night was Reggae night, which I slept through as I was pretty tired from the days drumming lessons. I am learning drums over here and even bought a drum. My drum teacher in Kokrobite was older guy in a little beach shack. His name apparently is ‘Lover”. There are a lot of Liberian refugees in Kokrobite and I spent a fair bit of time hanging out with them over the weekend. Awesome people, really cool. We even went to the 24th birthday party of one of the girls on Saturday avo ( which has a very funny story with it, I will tell it when I get home). Anyway, it is pretty strange to see the kind of half-life that refugees are forced to live, not knowing what the future holds for them.
The Akropong festival starts Monday, and I am pumped. I heard a really weird story about it the otherday. The kings form all over Ghana come, and they bring their ‘bodygaurds’ who carry them and play drums. Anyway, some of the bodyguard-drum guys from the inland tribes are really scary. They cute the skin off their foreheads so you can see the bone, and they also cut the flesh on their forearms so they can hit them together and make noise. Stay tuned for some photos of THAT.
We went to the nearby jungle with Kofi, a farmer that lives in our house, and were taught how to make palm wine during the week. When he said he would teach us how to make it I assumed after we learnt I could make it at home. Well, seeing as the first step is to ‘cut down a palm tree’ if find that unlikely. Also, palm wine is a pretty deceptive title for this drink. Really we drank the fermented sap and juice from a palm tree trunk. It was good fun, and Kofi and some of the forrest men made sure that we drank our fair share of the wine. The strange drink really knocked me out though, and I slept for a few hours when we got home.
Taxis in ghana are insanely cheap and badly exploited. A week or 2 ago I spent 10 minutes sitting on the side of the road watching 2 guys trying to load a 250 kilogram pig into the boot of a little hatchback taxi. I also have seen a brand new station with the driver and passenger in the front, and the entire back filled to the roof with the passengers watermelons.
One of the local bars, called a ‘spot’ here, is named the “Don’t mind your wife” spot. Another nearby spot has a pretty cool sign in it saying “Credit will be given to people over 85 years of age accompanied by both parents”.
The majority of the teachers at our school are young guys, in their early twenties. They are so different to teachers back home. They hug and tease the kids (and cane if they are naughty). One everyday occurrence is for my lessons to be disrupted when a fellow teacher, Peterson (we have to call him ‘Papa’) walks past my class, sees that I am teaching, and yells out “The Baptist” and runs in to hug me. Pretty much the same thing happens to Ross. Ill have to get his on video.
Vera has a pretty novel punishment for her students. Even though the children get the cane if they are naughty, they have genuine admiration and affection of their teachers. Because Vera, in her words she ‘beats the children mercilessly’ and gets tired and has a sore arm, she now has changed tactics and sends naughty children to walk to town (a fair distance) in the middle of the hot day to buy urinal cakes for the toilets.
There are girls in the class who are either designated, or have at least taken the responsibility upon themselves, to keep the class quite. Whenever the class is noisy they yell at them. Here are some of the better calls;
“Keep your smelly mouths shut” (Vera’s personal favourite)
“We are not in the jungle”
“You are only disrespecting yourselves”
“You are human beings, not animals.”
And all this just because the kids are making bit of noise. Now that is discipline.
Charles, the local policeman (whose carries a menacing AK47) told us that if we want to find him it will be easy because of his uniform. It is pretty hard to see Africans at night, as you can imagine, and charles is as black as night with a completely black uniform. I doubt I could see him in the street 2 metres away.
Ross and I have found that there are quite a few other volunteers in our region, although they are from a different organization. Still its been good to have some people to catch up with over a few beers in our town. Especially when girl who lives a few doors up from us and introduced us to the other volunteers is Miss Nebraska. Still, the program these guys are here with is called “Teaching and Projects Abroad”, and does good work but is stupidly expensive, its really just a business. Our program is the same duration and a quarter of the price.
I will be writing a massive entry in about 10 days to detail what happened at the festival. This festival is massive and I am really excited to be a white person who can take part in it. Stay tuned for stories and photos galore.
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