Saturday, 14 May 2011

Ghana Wildlife Tour I- Jirapa

21 March -23 April 2011
It has been more than a month and I have not written anything on the blog. In spite of the fact that I did not write anything, life has been very interesting and enjoyable here. After touring around and seeing some more of Ghana, I thought that it was enough of the rest for the blog and I should start writing again.
This was my first time where I did not do complete planning for the travel in advance and kept it very lose. Surprisingly it was very good in spite of not having much of expectations about the travel. It was Easter and most of the volunteers had already travelled to various destinations. We, me and Rahul, decided to take a cooler approach and went to the locations when there was least possibility of finding the places crowded.
Our first destination was Jirapa in the Upper West Region and main objective of visiting that place was meeting Rose, Aaron, Noriko and Cath, who live there. They are all VSO volunteers and good friends. Since it was difficult to catch the early morning bus to Wa, the capital of the upper west region, I had to come to Bolgatanga a night in advance. My very kind friend Alice provided me shelter for that night and in spite of having malarial infection, cooked for us and we had a nice evening with film show on her projector, where we watched Da Vinci Code.
Next day even before the crack of the dawn at 4:00 am, I started for lorry station where I waited for 2 hours for the start of selling of tickets for the only one bus available from Bolgatanga to Wa. At last the famous orange coloured Metro Mass bus was parked in the lorry station and they started issuing the tickets. My plan of starting on the second day of easter had gone well and I ended up having to stand not for long in the queue and getting a seat in the first half of the bus. A catholic nun was sitting besides me and I found it funny that she was more impatient than me about bus not starting. The bus at last started at 7:00 am, when the driver realised that they did not have enough fuel and they headed for the filling station. The journey lasted for 8 hours on the dusty and bumpy un-tarred road that passed through forests and very small villages. It was tiring and boring. After reaching Wa, the sister sitting besides me helped me by finding one lady who was also going to the town near to Jirapa. The lady accompanied me during the 10 minutes walk from Metro Mass bus station to the central lorry station and also showed me the location of the trotros to Jirapa. I highly appreciate the kindness of the people here in Ghana and will always remember it.
After another monotonous journey for one and half hour, I reached Jirapa. Rose picked me up from the road on her motorbike and took me to her house. I met Rahul in her house, who had already arrived there in the morning. After taking nice lunch of Khichdi prepared by Rose and taking a refreshing bucket bath followed by rest, I was all ready for the next action. We had a pleasurable evening with chat and card games with Aaron and Noriko. Aaron is a volunteer from Australia and Noriko is his girlfriend. After a while it was time for Church. It was Easter and Rose, being a devout Christian wanted to go to church. I and Rahul also accompanied her to the church since it was an opportunity to see something new. I had never attended any big church service before and it was a special mass for the Easter night, so a great opportunity to experience some Christian and African culture.
When we reached, the service was already begun and it was full with people. Some of the nuns after seeing us made some space for us on the benches. The church service was all in the local Dagaare language. There were lots of songs and dancing. The music, which was played using the traditional instruments, xylophone being one of them, was really enchanting. Somewhere in between there was a small skit presented by school children about resurrection of Christ. The church priest baptized to some people and they were announced to have become Christians. Afterwards there was sprinkling of holy water. Rose told us that there would be some candle light march but since it started raining, they might had cancelled it. It was already past midnight and we were feeling sleepy by that time. It seemed that the function did not have an end. As the rainfall started to recede, we left the church.
Rose's house does not have water supply connection and she has to buy water. There was not much water left in the house. Aaron's house however has water supply connection and he kindly allowed us to go there and take bath. After some more early morning chatting over Japanese green tea, we left Jirapa for Wechiau. With some catching up of sleep and refreshed bodies as well as minds we were excited and very much looking forward for seeing Hippos in wild, which we had seen only in zoos and on television before.