March 06, 2014

As I watched Tom and Jorge drive away up the hill from Lake Bosumtwi I realised I was really doing this. I was travelling alone in Ghana. I wasn’t sure why I had ever thought this was a good idea, only that I really wanted to see an elephant in the wild, so was going to go to Mole National Park whether anyone else could come or not. My stubbornness had led me to this and I was just going to have to be brave and do it. But that moment of feeling alone for the first  time was terrifying.



Driving away from this beautiful place

I tried to find out where I could get the tro-tro to the next town only to find out that it didn’t run on Sundays….this hadn’t started well. I even tried calling Tom to come back to take me to the next town but of course, his phone had died. So I ended up overpaying for a taxi to get me out of there, knowing that I had literally no leverage to bargain with. I got the tro-tro from the next town and headed to Kumasi, happy that I’d at least made it back to my start point.


Arriving back in Kumasi after the peaceful Lake Bosumtwi was a complete smash in the face to the senses. There were people and tro-tros everywhere and I had no idea where I was going. I wandered aimlessly for a while, hoping I might stumble upon the tro-tro I needed before someone decided to take pity on the lost obruni. This friendly guy led me all through the markets to the right bus stop, helped me buy my ticket and made sure I actually got on the right tro-tro. Ghanaians are amazing people, so helpful and friendly they would do anything to make sure you’re okay, not expecting anything in return except perhaps a phone number so they could keep in touch.


I did however have the worst toilet experience of my life at Kumasi market. I paid my 20 pesowa, thinking it was strangely cheap, to walk into a mass female urinal, with 10s of people squatting over what was basically a long drain. Horrified at the sight but needing to go I had to make the decision of whether to go in the first space I saw surrounded by other people or to walk all the way to the end where I could at least face the wall and pretend I was on my own. As someone who gets the toilet nerves anyway and can’t go if I even think someone can hear me I walked to the end and pretended no one was there. Most horrendous toilet ever, thank god I was at least wearing a skirt. It was moments like this when I really felt ‘foreign’. This was normal to them, they didn’t care who could see, even when I used toilets with cubicles it was all to common to see people using the facilities with the door wide open. I can not even comprehend this ever happening at home. Ever. If I’m honest I somewhat admire their comfort in their own bodies, but I could never see myself being like them. It’s just not British.


After that enlightening experience I was only too happy to get on the tro tro and start my journey to Techiman and then onto Nkoranza in a share taxi. Unfortunately it was night time by the time I arrived and after some level of panicking and phoning my friend Baba I stayed in one of the most interesting places of my trip…