Our tour in 2011 funded the construction of two boreholes.  We were able to watch the well being drilled for the village of Anateem, celebrate the well built in the village of Asaloko and tour a country that is rich in wildlife and culture.  Enjoy the highlights and links to all our photos and activities below and join us on our Ghana tour in December of 2012.

 Lighthouse in Jamestown Accra, Ghana

Day 1 Thursday Nov. 3rd 2011
Our expedition members were due to arrive in to groups.  The first group came in at 1pm at the Kotoka International airport in Accra, Ghana.
We picked them up and took the short drive to our hotel Afia African village located on the beach.  Everyone was ready to go so we took a short walk into town and visited the Makola market, a sprawling labyrinth of traders selling everything you can imagine. 

There are also Forex bureaus where our group was able to change their money into Ghana Cedis, we enjoyed fresh coconut juice and made our way back to the hotel for a quick dinner before it was time to go back to the airport and pick up the second group at 9pm.

Day 2 Friday Nov. 4th 2011
After breakfast we started our journey by walking through
Jamestown, the most atmospheric part of Accra and visiting the fishing village.  It is the second largest harbour in Ghana and is full of traditional pirogues and a lively atmosphere that made one of our tour members comment "we are no longer in the United States!"  The harbour is looked over by the 30m high colonial-era lighthouse and Fort James built in the 17th century by the British.

We then took our bus to the Adabraka area and had a buffet lunch at the White Bell restaurant.  This is one of our favorite places to eat in Accra as it is on the second level overlooking a busy street and everytime we have visited there has always been a nice breeze.  Our lunch featured Ghanaian specialties of Fufu with ground nut soup, Jollof rice, Grilled chicken and salad.

Part of this trip was to distribute 200 perma Mosquito nets and 20 life straws from Vesterguard-Fransden located in Accra.  This project was funded by Sharon and Paul Jones so we all traveled to the warehouse to pick up the supplies and were trained how to operate the life straws which filters and purifys dirty water.

It was a busy first day and we all deserved the feast that was waiting for us back at the hotel.  Our welcome dinner was at the tribes restaurant and featured over 20 different dishes including Ghanaian and continental cuisine.

Day 3 Saturday Nov. 5th 2011
It was time to begin our journey across Ghana.  We went east past Independence Square also known as Black Square constructed by Nkrumah (Ghanas first president) as a symbol of Ghanas independence.  Nearby too is the parade ground that is able to hold 30,000 people.  Soon we were in Teshie, and this is where we found the
coffin makers.  In Ghana coffins are carved into elaborate shapes representing a persons life. 

At Tema we headed north toward the Volta region and stopped at the Star Villa for lunch near the mount Krobo community reserve.  In 2008 we climbed
mount Krobo during their annual festival.  After lunch we visited the Agomanya bead market which takes place on Wednesdays and Saturdays.  This market is one of the best places in Ghana to shop for hand made beads as well as antique beads.

We then continued towards the town of Atimpoku and to our hotel
Afrikiko River Front Resort.  This beautiful resort with landscaped tropical grounds sits on lake Volta. It is a  tranquil place with a swimming pool and where you can sit at the lake side restaurant and watch fishermen paddle by in their canoes.

Day 4 Sunday Nov. 6th 2011
Regardless of your religious views, walking into an African church really is a must do while on the continent.  It was Sunday so we found one going on, easy to do just listen for the music.  We stayed for about an hour and they had all of us come up to the front and introduce ourselves and say where we were from.

It was time to find some local fishermen and take a canoe trip out onto lake Volta.  We watched fishermen throw their nets and visited a banana plantation.  That night we realxed by the lake with dinner in the hotel restaurant.

Day 5 Monday Nov. 7th 2011
We set off after breakfast towards the town of Ho.  In 2008 we spent a few days in the area hiking the
avatime hills, visiting Tafi Atome Monkey Sanctuary and taking a canoe out of Kpandu across lake Volta to the Afram Plains.  On this trip we all visited Tafi Abuipe Kente Cloth weaving village where we were able to watch the elaborate cloths being woven outside of peoples homes.  The village itself is colorful and very photogenic.  We spent the night exploring Atimpoku and prepared for a big travel day.

Day 6 Tuesday Nov. 8th 2011
This was a big travel day.  Our plan was to travel half way across Ghana and we stopped in a town called
Techiman about 120 km north of Kumasi.  Techiman is actuall a very nice place to spend a day or two as it is rarely visited and very welcoming.  We stayed at a brand new business class hotel the Encom which happened to have an excellent restaurant.  Some of us took an evening walk, watched children play Football and saw the town turn into night before walking back to the hotel for dinner.

Day 7 Wednesday Nov. 9th 2011
Techiman is a good place to place yourself if you wish to visit
Baobeng-Fiema Monkey Sanctuary near Nkoranza.  We took the short drive through the African bush to reach the village and took the tour through the surround jungle.  Mona monkeys are everywhere and they came right up to us.  There are also the Black and White Colobus monkeys high in the trees.  The villagers here consider the monkeys to be sacred and even have a burial ground for them. Some people chose to climb the strangler fig trees, not recommended, and we made our way back towards Techiman.  After lunch a group went for a hike to the Bibiri Waterfall near the town of Buoyem.  There are also the Buoyem caves that can be visited that have large colonies of fruit bats but that trail was closed at the time of our visit due to a large concentration of bees that had attacked the last group of hikers to that area.

Day 8 Thursday Nov. 10th 2011
We traveled to
Bolgatanga in the upper east region of Ghana.  This is where our clean water projects are located in the driest and poorest region of Ghana.  We stayed at the Ex-Tee Crystal Hotel outside of town, a very nice business class hotel.  Some of the group went into town and explored the market and had dresses made.  We had dinner and prepared for the voluntourism portion of the trip.

Day 9 Friday Nov. 11th 2011
This tour is funding a clean water well or "Borehole" for the village
Anateem in the Sumbrungo region north of Bolgatanga.  This morning we watched as the drill arrived and hit water.  The village explodes with cheers and dancing and the smiles on everyones faces were priceless.  Congratulations to our group!  We had lunch delivered to the job site, Indian food and Pizza, yes anything is possible.  We were given live Guinea fowl, chickens and a sheep which we put on our bus.  

We then hurried back to the hotel to freshen up.  Today is 11/11/11 which is when the commissioning ceremony for
Asaloko in the Bongo region is to be done.  This is the borehole we completed in March of 2011 that was funded by Rotary International and Jazzercise of Portland, Oregon.  We arrived to a cheering, dancing and drumming mass of villagers far off on a bush trail.  Before the ceremony two of our participants that came on the trip wanted to say their wedding vows on the borehole.  They chose to come on this trip instead of having a big wedding in America.  After their ceremony we joined the village, gave out mosquito nets and danced into the evening under a full moon.  We were once again given live Guinea fowl.

Day 10 Saturday Nov. 12th 2011
This morning we did our scholarship awards.  We had three $100 scholarships to award to young people in the area to help them start programs that would benefit their community.  Five children showed up.  We awarded the three and also gave $20 USD to the other two for school fees.  The seven of us then piled into a taxi and went into town to help them change the money into Ghana Cedis.  We also put the live sheep in the trunk and took it to Rasheds Mom as a gift because none of the group wanted to eat it.

Rashed received two gifts on this trip.  One was a laptop donated by Multnomah Orthopedic Clinic and the other was a brand new Bicycle donated by Hike and Bike in Portland, Oregon.  This morning we assembled the bike while some of our group went back to the market to pick up their dresses that had been made.  In the afternoon we drove north to the Burkina Faso border and walked into what they call no mans land, the area between Ghana and Burkina Faso.  After we visited the sacred crocodile ponds at
Paga where you can touch a crocodile after feeding him a live chicken.  That night we went to Sand Gardens hotel for dinner to enjoy some of our Guinea fowl that we had been given from the villages.  Sand Gardens is a nice spot outside under mango trees and the BBQ guy we have know since 2006.  He does a great job, takes our live birds and prepares them for us with a chilli sauce, yum.  That night some of us went to the only club in Bolgatanga and dance until 2am.  On the way home the taxi got a flat tire and we walked home under a full moon.  I Love Africa.

Day 11 Sunday Nov. 13th 2011
Today we set off to
Tongo hills.  We visited the village Shiega and gave out Mosquito nets and Life straws and determined that this would be another good village for a future borehole project.  We continued onto Tongo hills also known as Tengzug where balancing rock formations create a very unique landscape.  Here the Talensi people live and we hiked to the cave school and visited the Chiefs house.  We had lunch at Swap fast food in Bolgatanga, an excellent restaurant serving a wide range of food. After lunch we rested at the hotel and prepared for dinner at Robert Atule's house.  Robert is the owner of Araco construction, the company that builds our boreholes and he through a wonderful catered dinner complete with a DJ.  One of our tour members decided to travel to Sirigu to sleep on a mud hut.  The village is known for its geometric painted designs and elaborate facial scarring.

Day 12 Monday Nov. 14th 2011
It was our last day in Bolgatanga and the last day of the volunteer portion of the tr ip.  We visited Gungabisi, the village be built a hand dug well for in 2008 and the well was working perfectly.  We then traveled to Goorouge in the region of Kongo.  This is where Bridgette lives.  She is the recipient of our first scholarship in 2008.  She created a breeding program for goats that would benefit the widows of her community.  She has in three years been able to give three goats each to 5 different widows.  Kongo is also the community that this tour is funding another borehole for this December 2011.  By the time you read this it will be finished.

Day 13 Tuesday Nov. 15th 2011
We left Bolgatanga and made our way to
Mole National Park.  We got to the hotel, took a swim and had dinner and went to bed excited about the next morning Safari.  While at the pool a troop of baboons came to visit and we could acually see an elephant in the water hole below the hotel.

Day 14 Wednesday Nov. 16th 2011
We took the early morning walking Safari and saw elephants, water buck, cob, lots of birds, baboons, green monkeys and much more.  We rested in the afternoon, swam and had another great dinner under the African sky.

Day 15 Thursday Nov. 17th 2011
This mornings Safrai was in a jeep and we saw even more animals.  The afternoon was spent reading and relaxing by the pool.

Day 16 Friday Nov. 18th 2011
Got an early start and visited
Larabanga and the mud mosque which is reputedly the oldest building Ghana.  Larabanga is also known for its flat roofed mud kraal buildings.  It was a big travel day as we made it all the way to Kumasi.  We stopped in Tamale for lunch.  Tamale has the largest Mosque in Ghana.  Once in Kumasi we checked into the Fosua Hotel located in the heart of the city, had dinner al the Chinese restaurant in the hotel and called it a night.

Day 17 Saturday Nov. 19th 2011
Today some of our group visited the Aduko Jachie and Kentikronu shrines to the east of the city while the rest of us explored Kumasi and dove into the Kejetia market, the largest market in west Africa.  That night we feasted on a dinner at Vic Baboos cafe.  Vics is a very popular travellers restaurant that has some of the best Indian food I have ever tasted, anywhere.

Day 18 Sunday Nov. 20th 2011
It was time to head to the coast.  The Gold Coast has a history of the slave trade and we made it to the town of
Cape Coast and checked into the Mighty Victory Hotel.  The hotel is perfectly situated on a hill overlooking the town and walking distance to everything.  We took the afternoon to explore the town which is a facinating mix of Victorian era buildings.  We had a drink at a local 'spot' and enjoyed dinner at a roof top restaurant on top of the Sammo Guesthouse before having cocktails on the beach at the Oasis beach resort.

Day 19 Monday Nov. 21st 2011
History day.  Today we toured the slave fort. 
Cape Coast Castle is a world heritage site and the largest slave-holding site in the world during the colonial era.  It is a somber but important part of the tour.  The town itself was the first capital of Britains Gold Coast Colony and is a real pleasure to walk around as the streets hug the curves of the low hills and three centuries of architecture blend together to bring a very lived in and small town feel.  Fishermen on the beach chant and sing while pulling in their nets, this process takes hours and can be viewed at either of the two beach front restaurants. 
Tonight we had our faewell dinner at the Castle restaurant on the beach.  Most everyone had huge plates of lobster, I had my last local dish of ground nut soup and was very sad the trip was almost over.

Day 20 Tuesday Nov. 22nd 2011
We set off early this morning to Elmina. 
Elmina is another very attractive small town on the Benya Lagoon that was likely settled 700 years ago.  It first served as the headquarters for the Portugese and later the Dutch and is still a big fishing village.  The harbor is full of traditional Piroques and one of our tour member chartered a local fishing boat the day before and went out into the ocean. 
We then made our way to Accra and had lunch in the Osu district, a world away from Bolgatanga where the streets are lined with Mercedes, business people gather for lunch and we found that even the Ghanians have never seen the villages up north where we are dpoing our projects, in fact they do not even know that these small mud hut villages exist.  After lunch we visit the National Cultural Center where we are able to buy our last gifts and souvenirs and our drivers brother has a drum shop where he and his friends put on an amazing show for us.
We make our way to the airport and drop off our group.  Terri-Lynn, Rashed, George and I walk to a 'chop shop' (informal eating and drinking spot) and spend a final hour together eating BBQ skewers and drinking beer when a huge rain storm hits, the roof is leeking and a bolt of lightning hits the ground not more then 100 feet from us, no kidding.  Rashed says it is a blessing for the completion of a good job.  We say goodbye to our Ghanaian partner, we have known him for 5 years and we have been through so much.  We built 3 boreholes this year and had a very successful tour.  It is sad to say goodbye.  But we will see him again next year in December of 2012 on our Ghana tour.
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