Pigs on the Beach

A Ghana Beach
- 9 March 2013 -

Zima's husband joined us in Accra, he had grown up in Ghana so he was more than familiar with the surrounding region, so for this day I relied on him to guide us to the beach, via Independence Square.

The 6th of March, while we were 40000 feet above Africa, the Atlantic Ocean and the Gulf of Guinea, Ghana was celebrating their independence. Through trade from Europe and various other regions, Ghana become known as the Gold Coast (apparently is was also referred to as the "white man's grave" due to the malaria in the area). With a rich mineral landscape comes fighting, so many wars happened over time. Despite the strong Ashanti army, Ghana was eventually occupied by the British in the early 1900's. This didn't stop the Ghanaian people from fighting for their freedom and won back their independence in 1957 becoming the first African nation of their time to be totally independent from colonial rule. For this reason Independence Square was built. Celebrations take place on the 6th of March every year, marking the anniversary of their freedom.

I woke up early and dragged Adu (Zima's husband) and Zima out towards Independence Square. Despite the foggy appearances of the photo above, it was not a misty morning. This was my camera misting up, it was so bad that even the inner lenses of my lenses misted up, but even worse the camera's digital sensor was misting up. It eventually got so bad that I had to return my camera to it's bag until the camera and lenses had warmed up to the same temperature as the surrounding moist air.

This didn't happen quickly, it took more than an hour to get the camera to a usable state again, so I reverted to my iPhone 5 which was largely sealed from the humidity. This worked relatively well for an interim solution, however by the time I had decided to use my Apple technology we had already moved on from Independence Square and on towards the beach.

Zima approached the beach first while Adu and myself discussed his home country, until Zima called out "there are piglets on the beach". 

You can imagine my shock to find a litter of piglets wondering on the beach led by their larger mother. Their main activity was digging in the sand in search of bits and pieces they could eat, followed by a group breast feeding session.

The beach was pretty busy. I was expecting the beach to be quiet this time of the morning, but local's were swarming all over. The majority of them were exercising and training on the beach, but some tourists were looking for shells....

We continued down the beach and although there was litter and waste all over the beach, which appears to be washed-in from the sea, there was municipal workers trying their best to clean it up. It seemed like a futile exercise.

At this point the sun had emerged and my camera was working again. We had walked in one direction towards the government owned fort, however I was restricted from going further with my camera, so we turned around and headed in the opposite direction, where we found some locals playing soccer, tiny dead fish and a carpet that had washed up on the beach, which had obviously been floating around for some time. We also discovered some alternative uses for the sea..... a very large "doggy wash".

I was eager to walk through to the lighthouse further down the beach but was prevented from doing this for natural reasons. The beach doesn't continue all the way and is replaced by a rocky terrain, so we decided to head up off the beach to the closest road on our way back to the hotel.

We ventured past a dump site (possibly one of the reasons for the polluted beach)  and through a small beach township. We were discussing how in SA the rich get to brag about their beach houses, as where in Ghana this is mostly populated by the lower income class.

If you ever go to Ghana, one thing you will notice in the value of a "neck and head". In Ghana it is a valuable tool for carrying around your possessions. If it is big or heavy.... it goes on your head.

As we passed through the township on a narrow pathway, we were approached by a young man who invited us to his business where they make drums (play and and sell them too).

Adu jumped right into the action testing his hand(s) at music.

These rusta looking locals were very friendly. So friendly that between their bloodshot eyes and humor I was tending to think they were breathing in something more than the humid air, however, in general Ghanian's don't smoke (I hadn't seen anyone smoke, other than the foreigners at the hotel), so perhaps they just didn't get any sleep the previous night.

After our music session we soon reached the main road and headed back to the hotel. "Tomorrow is another day" and I would try and capture Independence Square then, besides, I was dripping-wet of the heat and humidity and needed another shower.

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