March 23, 2023
This is our second time visiting Ghana. Here are some pictures of our sail in. The air is much cleaner than yesterday, but it is quite hot, almost 90 degrees.
Today we decided to take the Twin City of Sekondi-Takoradi tour. Our guide was Nana and he was very friendly and informative. Ghana is a mostly very religious Catholic country. Twi is the local language but the official language is English. He taught us a few Twi words. Ghana has had 11 different governments over the years, the current one is a civilian, not military government and has been that way for 10 years now. It was under British control until 1957. 60% of people in the country are employed in some type of agriculture and cocoa and crude oil are important exports.
Nana also talked a lot about cultural norms here, for example, you should not gesture or do anything with your left hand. They consider it to be dirty given bathroom habits and they do also eat with only the right hand. They don’t usually use utensils.
Children have long names and the first part of their name is always the day of the week they are born. For families with more than one child born on the same day, the second part of their name could be the word for the time of day they were born or some physical characteristic, like fat or skinny. I would hate to have my name associated with baby fat all my life!! Babies are named at a special ceremony that takes place on the 8th day of life.
Family is very important here and before a marriage, the family must approve of it. Then, Nana says, you marry the family and anyone in the family can show up at your home 24 hours a day, and stay as long as they want to. If someone needs money, you must give it to them. They believe in communal living, so many families live together.
Our tour description said we would first drive through the monkey hills. I guess they are still called that, but the monkeys have all left the area due to humans moving into their territory.
We drove past the hospital and other areas such as the Naval base where we were warned not to take pictures. I fact, we were asked to check with the person if you want to take a picture because some people here believe you capture their soul if you take their picture. I always ask anywhere I go. Along the way and in every stop, we saw so many people carrying almost anything you could imagine – on their heads. This always amazes me wherever we see it.
Our first actual stop was the fishing harbor. What a busy place! There were metal basins full of smaller fish everywhere and some people had large fish that they were cutting up. Many people were there and Nana said that it is that way every day except Tuesdays when fishing is prohibited. We walked through the market where people were very friendly. I said to Norm that it seemed people saw us as a curiosity here. Even when driving by on the bus, people stared and waved.
We saw some boats in partial stages of building. We got to visit the ice plant which produces 50,000 pounds of ice a day and operates 24 hours a day. Very interesting to see how they desalinate water and freeze it to keep the fish fresh. Their power plant is run by natural gas and is from Turkey. Officials took us all through the market and explained everything but only at the last minute did they use a microphone, so it was hard to hear everything.
Next we drove through market circle, a huge market, the biggest in Ghana. There were a lot of people and a lot of stalls and shops but Nana said it was not too busy compared to usual.
A couple of interesting sights along our routes: Most of their Coke ads seem to be religious!
Our last stop was at the Raybow Hotel where we had refreshments and watched a cultural show with drummers and very energetic dancers. Some of the passengers got up to learn a dance and you could see the locals trying to suppress their laughter.
When we arrived back at the port, there were local people with their items for sale. I was looking for a certain type of basket, but the ones they had all looked mass produced and not what I was looking for.
On the way into the ship, a nice young man asked if I would do a survey and I agreed. The survey asked about my impressions, how much we spent (only the tour cost and tips) and some demographic information. It seems that they are trying to improve what they do. The people were so friendly here, we always felt safe and it is much cleaner than the other west African countries so far.
Good news here on the ship – there are NO quarantines at all for passengers or crew. Yay! Hopefully it will stay that way.
This did seem a much nicer place to visit than your last few days. Its such a contrast to how we live. Enjoying your work Pat!!
Wow, this was so interesting…names and carrying items on their heads! I forwarded it to my girls, they were fascinated. More happy trails 🙂