Date: Early 2007
Context: Thekenyanexplorer went to Ghana with a team from uni on a 3 week trip to Ghana. Her team was focusing on some development work in energy and water. This is an email that was sent to her friends and family after the trip. The full story will be in a few separate consecutive blog entries.
After our mission in Kumasi was done we began our task into the deep lands. We took a trotro/matatu/ tiny minivan to our next destination. We would be living on a farm working on our projects with a famous farmer who is the uncle of one of the Ghanaians at MIT, and was the two time winner of Ghana's best National farmer award. He got two pickups for his brilliance in farming. He is no regular farmer. He is highly educated (having studied in Ghana and abroad.) He had his PHD and is a farmer by profession. His farm was definitely one of the most productive farms I have seen. He lives in Ofuman, and he is the town itself.
Ok I would not do my trip to Ghana justice if I didn't talk about the food. Now I take a small break, and talk about the heavenly meals we ate there. Pineaples, Mangoes, Pawpaws, coconuts, Coconut rice, jolof rice, red-red (fried sweet plantains with beans cooked in red palm oil), banku (fermented flour that is used to make a sort of ugali that has a slightly tangy taste....yum yum), foofoo (pounded yam/cassava), palava/problem sauce (Morenga or spinach mixed with egusi (watermelon seeds) and fried in palm oil. Peanut sauce, gari - cassava that has been grated, dried then roasted and is sprinkled on food in a salt like manner to increase carbohydrate intake. All types of fish. I don't know what has become of me. I lost myself in Ghana and really started loving fish. Sole, tilapia, red snapper etc. It was amazingly good.
Our breakfast usually consisted of tea bread, sugar bread, Hausa coco (yummy fermented porridge with a hint of pepper), cocoa tea, tea tea or coffee tea. Ghanaians use tea to refer to any hot drink. Don't ask me why. Sodas are called "Mineral." Yep English came by ship.
BACK TO BUSINESS
Huge lizards were a normal thing to see all over Ghana. Huge green lizards with red stripes. Apparently they are harmlesss. In Ofuman life was amazing. We were living in the village, but not really in the village as our host was much wealthier than the average villager. We had electricity, water, radio etc. Our host owns so much land, and took us for a tour the first night. He grew everything from Morenga (miracle tree) to cashews, to mangoes, cassava, cocoa, coconuts etc. He is a huge exporter. It was lovely taking a ride on the back of his pickup to see his farm, his lake, his cattle, sheep, goats, chickens etc. Riding in the back of the pickup in the setting sun made me long for years gone by when we would ride on the back of dad's pickup from Nairobi primary and would be flying on Uhuru highway. Being at one with the wind. I still believe that my favourite mode of transportation is on the back of a pickup.